Coming up in Cowichan: Seniors programs on the agenda

Minds in Motion has spots for new people starting April 8

When it comes to assisting Cowichan Valley residents living with dementia, Shanan St. Louis has some fairly unique qualifications.

She has personal and professional experience helping people living with dementia. She worked in long-term care and her own family has been impacted by the disease.

That background proves invaluable in her role as coordinator of the Minds in Motion program in the Valley. The fitness and social program is part of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s First Link dementia support for people in the early stages of the disease and their care partner.

Space is available for new registrants for a six-week session running on Monday afternoons that starts on April 8 at Cowichan Aquatic Centre.

“When I plan activities, I aim to challenge participants — but always make sure what we’re doing is based in fun,” says St. Louis. “I really enjoy providing activities where family members and care partners can join in.”

The Minds in Motion program was developed in response to a need for opportunities for people with early-stage dementia and their care partners to stay active and engaged in their communities. Dementia can be a very isolating condition for the person living with the disease and their care partners. Minds in Motion provides an opportunity for people living with dementia to connect with others, make new friends and have fun.

It is also an opportunity for care partners to connect and form new social support networks that often extend outside of the group.

Benefits of the exercise component include improved balance, mobility and flexibility, as well as helping to build the confidence to live well with dementia.

“Minds in Motion is a terrific way to see you are not alone in experiencing the disease,” says one participant. “It’s connected us with people who have become not just acquaintances but friends.”

St. Louis encourages anyone who may be living with early stage dementia in the Cowichan Valley to join Minds in Motion with a care partner.

“It’s an opportunity to meet other people who fully understand what you’re thinking and feeling in a safe space to have exercise and fun.”

To register, call 250-746-7665.

If you have questions call the First Link Dementia Helpline at 1-800-936-6033 or visit alzheimerbc.org.

Elder College ready to talk dementia and dollars

Elder College is presenting a program on dementia.

Dementia and Dollars will run at the Kerry Park Recreation Centre in Mill Bay on Thursday, April 11 from 1:30 p.m. to 3 p.m. Hosted by David Pope, the subject is legal and financial planning when you or someone dear to you has been diagnosed with dementia, with a focus on strategies for protecting resources. The session is open to people 50-plus.

Call to pre-register at Cowichan Community Centre at 250-748-7529 or Kerry Park Recreation Centre at 250-743-5922. Cost for the session is $12 if you are a member of Elder College or $17 if not, a levy that includes an annual membership.

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