Dementia patients are marching, dancing and clapping to keep on the move as part of an initiative at a popular local centre.
According to the Mental Health Foundation, studies have found physical activity can cut the chances of people aged over 65 from developing dementia; and, for people who have already developed the disease, physical activity can help to delay further decline.
The half-hour sessions at the council’s Michael Flanders Centre, in Acton, involve specially designed chair-based exercises to provide a gentle but useful work-out. They are put on by StayActive4Life and one of its personal trainers Joe McCarthy said: “We put some music on and it is a nice way to start the day. We do marching in the chair, stretching and mobility. Then we play around with different equipment like plates and bottles filled with seeds that we shake around, which is quite a fun way to get exercise.”
Jean and Anne, both attend the sessions once a week, Anne said: “It is nice. It gets you going and helps you move your joints.”
Jean said: “When I was young I used to dance and I am still doing it now as much as I can.”
According to the Ealing Public Health annual report for 2017-18, more than 2,200 of the borough’s over-65s have been diagnosed with dementia, which represents 77% of our older population. This is projected to grow to more than 5,000 people by 2035.
Councillor Binda Rai, the council’s cabinet member for adult services, said: “We know that dementia diagnoses are increasing and will continue to into the near future. Projects like this are a step in the right direction at looking after the growing number of residents who have dementia.
“Physical activity is something that the council has championed through its Get Moving campaign and this project is a great advert for physical activity as it shows that it does not matter what age or ability you are, you can spend time with one and other and keep active.”
Funding for the project has come from the South Acton Estate Community Board.
Becoming a dementia friend
With a growing number of people who suffer from dementia Ealing residents are coming together to lean about the disease. Recently some Greenford residents became Dementia Friends as part of a campaign to tackle the stigma and lack of understanding around the condition.
The group attended a free one-hour information session at Cancer Research. There are more sessions like this available to residents, all they have to do is sign up to be a dementia friend on the Alzeichmer’s Society website.