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Kootenays residents urged to get active for cognitive health

Contributor
By Contributor
March 12th, 2024

Keep a healthy lifestyle to support brain health: It’s a message the Alzheimer Society of B.C. is sharing with Kootenay residents and others around the province to mark Brain Awareness Week March 11-17.

The charity is encouraging people across the province to get active and help lower the risk of developing dementia by making healthy lifestyle choices, including getting regular physical activity.

Jill Gratton and her husband Mick, who lives with dementia, couldn’t agree more. They have been attending Minds in Motion®, the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s fitness and social program where they have the opportunity to participate in gentle physical exercise and socialize with other people living with early-stage dementia and their care partners.

“It gets the old grey matter stirring,” Jill says with a laugh.

Minds in Motion® is supported largely through the generous community support of the Alzheimer Society of B.C.’s donors.

The IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s, presented by Go Auto, is the charity’s biggest fundraiser of the year. Set for Sunday, May 26 in communities across the province, the Walk helps fund programs including Minds in Motion®. Walking regularly and signing up for the Walk are great ways to support a healthy lifestyle for people on the dementia journey, while supporting brain health.

The fundraising event and Minds in Motion® are excellent ways to get exercise as well as social interaction – both activities help lower the risk of developing dementia.

“People who exercise regularly are less likely to develop heart disease, stroke and diabetes – all risks associated with dementia,” says Dr. Sarah Wu, strategic lead of research for the Alzheimer Society of B.C. “Research also shows that socializing regularly may help reduce your risk of developing dementia, so it only makes sense to increase the brain benefits by getting active and in a group setting whenever you can.”

Following a healthy diet, managing stress as well as avoiding smoking and excess alcohol consumption also help lower the risk. Challenging your brain with activities like the brain teasers and team games the Grattons enjoy at Minds in Motion® can also have an impact.

“I’ve met a new group of people, so my circle of friends has widened – and what’s more important, they’re people who all understand what we’re going through,” Jill says. “Mick is comfortable there because it’s something we do together. He doesn’t feel he’s alone. He looks forward to it. And me? Well, I’m happy when he’s happy.”

Mick has been living with dementia for almost 12 years. Thanks to Jill’s dedication and support from the charity, he’s never had to face his dementia journey alone.

Programs like Minds in Motion® are only possible through the generosity of donors, as well as the support of community fundraisers across the province. For information on joining the IG Wealth Management Walk for Alzheimer’s in your community, visit WalkForAlzheimers.ca. Learn more ways to lower the risk of developing dementia at alzbc.org/BrainHealthyTips.

Categories: GeneralHealth

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