As our population ages, we are becoming more concerned with brain health. Chances are, you already have a neighbour, friend or loved one who has been affected by dementia. In fact, 564,000 Canadian are living with dementia today and this number is expected to increase by 66% in 15 years¹. This underscores the importance of doing what we can to improve our brain health. Exercise, good
nutrition, adequate sleep, stress management, being social and challenging ourselves in new and novel ways can all contribute to better cognitive health. But what about those who have already been diagnosed with dementia? In recent years, cognitive stimulation therapy (CST) has emerged as a non- pharmacological treatment option for mild to moderate dementia. Research in the UK involving
participants diagnosed with dementia observed improvements in their cognition and quality of life after attending group CST programs for several weeks².
Cognitive stimulation therapy is available here!
Fit Minds® is a cognitive stimulation therapy program for seniors that was created in Ottawa in 2010. It promotes overall brain health through customized activities and social interaction. It includes mental exercises to stimulate the five areas of cognition³.
language and music visual/spatial orientation memory critical thinking computation
Unlike an on-line brain fitness program, Fit Minds® includes the benefits of social stimulation. Exercises are delivered in person by a certified Fit Minds® coach who supports and encourages the individuals they work with. The Individual Interactive Program (which is a one-to-one program) allows the cognitive coach to capture and record performance and engagement. This is used to tailor and adjust future sessions to make them more interesting and challenging for the individual. Progress reports can also be emailed to individuals or their loved ones to keep them informed. Fit Minds® is adaptable for individuals with or without a diagnosis of cognitive decline. For maximum benefits, those with a diagnosis of mild to moderate dementia are encouraged to engage in CST two to
three times per week. Those without a diagnosis can also work with a coach one-to-one, or may prefer a group program designed to be held once per week with take-away challenges to try at home. Each Fit Minds® session begins with a warm up that includes light physical exercises, deep breathing and a few verbal language activities to help prime the brain and warm up the vocal cords. A series of paper- based exercises are then provided to stimulate different areas of the brain. The cognitive coach leads the individual through each mental exercise and provides prompts, cues and encouragement as needed. The initial appointment for the Individual Interactive session includes an assessment and is one hour long. Subsequent appointments are approximately 45 minutes in length.
This blog has been brought to you by Joanne Spiller who is a Gerontology Activation Professional and Fit Minds® Certified Coach at Oakville Naturopathic Wellness Centre. To book an appointment with Joanne or learn more, please call 905-825-9996.
¹ The Alzheimer Society of Canada, www.alzheimer.ca/en/Home/About.dementia/What-is-dementia/Dementia numbers in Canada (last updated 08/24/2018)
² CST Cognitive Stimulation Therapy, www.cstdementia.com/page/the-evidence-base