Keeping Alzheimer’s patients in good physical condition can be important to keeping their cognitive abilities as long as possible. In part two of our series, LiveWise at the YMCA, ABC 10’S Dan Gualdoni shows us how a unique program is making a difference.
The LiveWise program is a partnership between four groups: the Alzheimer’s Association, the YMCA of Marquette County, Community Care at Lake Superior Hospice and the Brain and Spine Center at Marquette General Hospital.
Ruth A. Almén, LMSW. is the Regional Director of the Alzheimer’s Association in Upper Michigan. She says, ” This was something that we came up with together with some of the best minds that I work with in this community. We were trying to figure out how to serve people with early stage Alzheimer’s disease as well as give people a sense of control over their lives. I mean, when you get diagnosed with a terminal illness it’s so frightening and you feel like so many things are out of control and, sometimes becoming physically stronger and learning information helps us feel more in control.”
Studies have shown that physical activity can help early onset patients retain their cognitive skills longer. The LiveWise program is the first attempt at putting that into play.
“That the idea was – again – to reduce the stigma of Alzheimer’s disease. Help people get information earlier in their own disease process and with their family members to reduce the isolation both to the person with the disease and their family members. Because we know this is a disease that can isolate people,” added Almen
Joe Garceau is participating in the 16 week LiveWise program …and he is enjoying it.
He says, “From the first day we got together, we came together as a group. We bonded and its been nothing but fun and learning ever since. It’s a friendship that we made that will be forever. It’s really been one of the best experiences of my life.”
Like the other members of the group, Joe is benefiting from both the physical and mental exercise — as well as the social aspect to the program.
Garceau, with a big smile on his face, added, ” I just got done doing 34 minutes on the bike. I never thought I could do that. We talk to them (the trainers), they shake their arms at us…’pump that iron.’ I did that to one guy and he said, ’76 and your arm is still big!'”
Part three of our series continues on ABC 10 News Now Thursday. Find out what the program entails: in the gym and in the classroom.
Learn more about Alzheimer’s Disease and the Trial Match program at http://www.alz.org/trialmatch/about.asp