Workshop boosts brain health

Moving for Memory taught Carole and Archie Landals how important the relationship is between physical health and brain health.

The eight-week group workshop, offered by Edmonton Southside Primary Care Network, focuses on physical activity and steps towards a healthier brain.

Carole discovered the class through her family doctor, Dr. Tarini Siva, at the Summers Medical Clinic after discussing the fact that she was becoming forgetful.

“I went because my girls were concerned that I was developing Alzheimer’s and they wanted me to see a doctor. She told me I didn’t have anything to worry about,” says Carole.

Her doctor referred her to Mary Whale, a PCN healthy aging nurse, who visited her at home for further cognitive testing. Mary referred her to Moving for Memory.

Despite their busy and active lives, Archie and Carole both felt they benefitted from the workshop. Topics ranged from nutrition to the importance of staying active.

“We spent the first half of each class actually doing exercises of various kinds that were aimed at muscle strength and balance,” said Archie.

Archie described one exercise with balloons and keeping them up in the air as long as possible. Every time he would hit a balloon he had to say a letter.

“We were doing mental activities along with the physical activities. Generally, they were simple exercises that were reasonably easy to do and don’t require a lot of equipment or a special room to do them in,” he added.

They both had high praise for the facilitators, exercise specialist Stephanie Schlaak and healthy aging nurse Alice Belair.

“Dr. Siva asked me how I liked the class. I told her I was really pleased with it. I look forward to going to it,” said Carole.

“I hated anything to do with exercise before I went there but after I came out, we did fairly easy things so I didn’t really mind at all. Once you get started and you increase your activity, it’s easy. You just have to get the mindset.”

“I would say the biggest takeaway of everything in terms of memory is the importance of that holistic approach of staying active and taking care of your heart, health and eating habits. I think a lot of people as we grow older tend to lose sight of that,” said Archie.