Program stimulates body, brain

Minds in Motion sessions give people with Alzheimer's disease a chance to connect and exercise.

Tina Biello

Tina Biello

Sitting down for a game of Scrabble after participating in a fitness routine is just the right mix of heart-pumping movement and mental exercise to make a difference in the life of a person who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease.

A Minds in Motion program, offered through parks, recreation and culture, combines exercise and social activities such as board games and friendly conversation over a cup of tea or coffee to help people in the early stages of Alzheimer’s disease – or a related dementia – to live healthier lives.

The program is designed for a person who suffers from the disease and their caregiver, family member or friend. The participants must accompany each other to every class.

Tina Biello, First Link coordinator for the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia, oversees the social component of the program, which lasts about an hour.

The program offers people a place to come together and meet others going through a similar situation and is making a positive impact on participants, said Biello.

“It’s an opportunity for them to see they are not alone and to meet other people going through a journey they are embarking on,” she said. “They keep coming back and look forward to coming.”

The exercise component ensures people are keeping active. The fitness routine consists of 45 minutes of exercises using light weights and resistance bands.

Shelley Howlett, a fitness instructor for the city, oversees the exercise portion of the program.

She said it is an important factor in helping people who suffer from Alzheimer’s, as the exercise and brain activity helps slow the onset of the disease.

Minds in Motion started in Nanaimo in September. The program was expanded to other parts of the province after a successful two-year pilot project in Victoria.

The program runs in seven-week sessions and operates year-round. People can join the sessions at any time as long as space is available. The fees are pro-rated if participants join after a session has begun. Each session has a maximum of 24 participants. The current session has 14.

Biello said the partnership between the city and First Link, an early intervention service designed to connect families affected by Alzheimer’s disease with services, is a great collaboration. The program is funded through the Vancouver Island Health Authority, Continuing Care Services and the B.C. Ministry of Health Services.

Minds in Motion is $42 per couple per seven-week session and is held at Beban Park’s Social Centre. To register or for more information, please call 250-756-5200, go to or contact the Alzheimer Resource Centre at 250-734-4171.

Just Posted

Nanaimo author B.S. Thompson has released his debut novel, ‘The Book of Nodd.’ (Photo courtesy Nora Funk)
Nanaimo author invites readers into dangerous world of dreams in debut novel

B.S. Thompson unveils ‘The Book of Nodd’ with online launch June 20

Potters Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter present their joint exhibit ‘Dig It’ at Art 10 Gallery until the end of June. (Josef Jacobson/News Bulletin)
Potters show pieces for home and garden at Nanaimo’s Art 10 Gallery

Virginia Dunseith and Ruth Porter’s show ‘Dig It’ on display until end of June

Construction work continues on the City of Nanaimo’s new Fire Station No. 1 on Fitzwilliam Street. (News Bulletin file)
Next phase of borrowing approved as Nanaimo fire hall construction ongoing

City of Nanaimo CAO says construction on Fitzwilliam Street hall on schedule and budget

Nanaimo Fire Rescue firefighters at the scene of a single-vehicle crash on Tenth Street near Southside Drive on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Driver OK after crashing vehicle off the side of Nanaimo’s Tenth Street

Crews say wet roads a factor a crash Sunday, June 13

Emergency crews on scene of a two-car crash at the intersection of Cranberry Avenue and the Trans-Canada Highway on Sunday, June 13. (Greg Sakaki/News Bulletin)
Crash blocks Cranberry intersection in Nanaimo, no one injured

Incident blocks both southbound lanes of Trans-Canada Highway

Kelowna-Lake Country MLA Norm Letnick, assistant deputy speaker at the B.C. legislature, presides over committee discussions. The legislature is completing its delayed spring session this week, with most MLAs participating by video conference. (Hansard TV)
B.C.’s daily COVID-19 infections dip below 100 over weekend

Only 68 new cases recorded Monday, four additional deaths

Gabriola Island artist Sheila Norgate is promoting the Digital Innovation Group’s art impact survey. (File photo)
Vancouver Island artists get behind regional arts impact study

Artists urged to use their stature to help put arts and culture super-region on the map

The BC Ferries website went down for a short while Monday morning following a provincial announcement that recreational travel between health authorities can resume Tuesday. (Black Press Media file photo)
BC Ferries’ website crashes in wake of provincial reopening announcement

Website back up now, recreational travel between health regions to resume as of Tuesday

Darren Campbell’s truck (pictured) was stolen when he stopped to check on a car in a ditch on Cowichan Bay Road on Monday morning. (Facebook photo)
Vancouver Island Good Samaritan’s truck stolen in nasty trick

‘Try to be a Good Samaritan and my $20,000 truck gets stolen right under my nose’

The Kamloops Indian Residential School is photographed using a drone in Kamloops, B.C., Monday, June, 14, 2021. The remains of 215 children were discovered buried near the former school earlier this month. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Jonathan Hayward
Communities grapple with what to do with former residential and day schools

Some tear them down as a tool to help healing, others repurpose them as tools for moving forward

Creative handmade signs abound at the June 13 Tofino rally for old growth trees. (Nora O’Malley photo)
VIDEO: Tofino stands in solidarity for Fairy Creek Blockades

Over 150 supporters attend rally hosted by Friends of Clayoquot Sound

FILE – Provincial health officer Dr. Bonnie Henry talks about B.C.’s plan to restart the province during a press conference at Legislature in Victoria, Tuesday, May 25, 2021. THE CANADIAN PRESS/Chad Hipolito
B.C. watching U.K.’s COVID struggles but don’t think province will see similar pitfalls

Studies show that one dose of vaccine is only 33 per cent effective in preventing B.1.617.2 spread

RCMP Const. Shelby Patton is shown in this undated handout photo. RCMP say that Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over on Saturday morning in Wolseley, east of Regina. THE CANADIAN PRESS/HO, RCMP
Pair charged in Saskatchewan Mountie’s death make first court appearance

Const. Shelby Patton was hit by an allegedly stolen truck that he had pulled over Saturday morning

Most Read