Program stimulates body, brain

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

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.

Get local stories you won't find anywhere else right to your inbox.
Sign up here

Just Posted

Lantzville opts against forming social media committee

Committee would have helped district council develop policy on social media behaviour

Nanaimo Hospital Auxiliary has been fundraising for 120 years

Hospital auxiliary president says group pioneered Wi-Fi at hospitals on Island

Gabriola Island community bus sees 100,000th rider

Gabriola Environmentally Responsible Trans-Island Express celebrated milestone Jan. 25

LETTER TO THE EDITOR: Mayor and council aren’t necessary

Instead of candidates, put municipal priorities on the ballot, says letter writer

RDN budget talks to include public consultation results

Director not impress with level of engagement

Protesters in Nanaimo preach peace in Iran

Rally sees gathering at Diana Krall Plaza in downtown Nanaimo

First-place Canucks beat Blues 3-1 for ninth straight home win

Miller nets pair as Vancouver defeats Cup champs

Swapping grape varieties can help winemakers adapt to climate change: UBC study

Report says 56% of wine-grape-growing regions would be lost if global climate warms by 2 C

Alberta premier wants feds to approve Teck mine for benefit of First Nations

Kenney: ‘Surely [reconciliation] means saying yes to economic development for First Nations people’

Filming for Resident Alien begins in Ladysmith

Aliens and excitement take over the streets of Ladysmith during new TV series

The Three Bears are down to two after baby bear carving stolen from his perch in Island community

Thief repeatedly kicked it and dislodged it from cement and rebar

Licensed cannabis store opens in Nanaimo’s north end

Mood Cannabis Company’s Metral Drive location opened Jan. 18

NDP suggests easing secondary housing rules for B.C. farmland

Lana Popham proposes guest homes not just for relatives

Most Read