Question and Answers

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Questions & Answers

Administration

Why only 6 Societies? View answer

The Alzheimer Society of Ontario received funding for introducing Minds in Motion® in Ontario; the six Societies are part of the learning phase, an important phase between the initial concept and the full roll out. Inviting only six Societies to be part of this initiative means we have the right resources to support them, and are able to gather manageable but meaningful participant feedback during the testing phase. The information collected will help us further develop the program to ensure we have the most impactful program by the time we’re ready to roll out to the rest of the province.

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What were the recruitment criteria? View answer

It was challenging to select Societies for this phase of Minds in Motion because many well respected and active local Societies expressed interest. However, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario selected the sites that:
• Represented as many regions across Ontario as possible, including a mix of urban and rural centres.
• Had the resources available to hit the ground running in terms of partnerships to deliver the program, volunteer capacity, the ability to recruit participants, and to sustain that pace for the two-year pilot program.

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Will there be an Ontario roll-out? View answer

Yes! The information we will be collecting throughout the two-year extensive study will allow us to make the necessary adjustments during this phase so that we are ready to roll-out across the province at the end of this period. In the meantime, other Societies have chosen to move forward on their own with Minds in Motion. The Alzheimer Society of Ontario is sharing all of the material developed through or as part of this phase to ensure the program delivers similar benefits. The main difference rests on the availability of the start-up funding.

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Can we start meeting twice a week instead of just once? View answer

Given that the Minds in Motion funding is limited, the Societies can currently offer only a one day a week program. However, Minds in Motion has been developed with a home component that we encourage all participants to commit to; not only are hand-outs available to help guide your efforts, but some Societies also offer the support of volunteer coaches to help motivate you outside of the program. Please inquire with the participating Society. Finally, please take advantage of the numerous and moderately-priced programs offered at the multi-services centres where Minds in Motion is being held, or within your community; the availability of reputable community-based activities for people of all ages and abilities should help you meet the recommended 2 ½ hour of physical activity per week. For more information on the various programs available, speak with any of the Minds in Motion staff.

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The amount of physical activity the program proposes is lower than the current activity recommendation; why? View answer

Minds in Motion proposes a fun introduction to physical activity. The program is meant to get you motivated, and will offer other opportunities to meet the recommended 2 ½ hours of physical activity: ask for the hand-outs to help guide your efforts, take advantage of the support offered by volunteer coaches, and investigate the numerous and moderately-priced programs offered at the multi-services centres where Minds in Motion is offered as well as in your community. Minds in Motion staff will be able to provide you with more information on available activities.

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Why do participants need to pay to join the program? View answer

The minimal cost is to help offset the price to deliver the program; the fee covers the participation costs for the two partners, and is the only way the program can be offered. Payment is expected upfront, and is non-refundable.

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Where is the money going? View answer

The participation fee covers the costs of the staff hired to deliver the program; it does not go to the Alzheimer Society.

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Can I have a tax receipt? View answer

Because the money is “fee for service” and not a donation to the Alzheimer Society (a charitable organization), no tax receipt can be issued.

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What does “pilot” mean – why should I join a program that hasn’t been tested or proven yet? View answer

A pilot project is where you take a product or service and offer it to a small group to help analyze and understand the result to see if it would be successful on a larger scale. Even though Minds in Motion was first introduced in 2010 by the Alzheimer Society of British Columbia and has been successful with participants, the Alzheimer Society of Ontario received funding to standardize the program before rolling it out to the rest of the province. We are committed to staying as true as possible to British Columbia’s concept, and will be garnering evidence-based information to help support the growth of the program.

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Can the volunteer coach come to my house to help us do the program? View answer

Yes. Volunteer coaches are a great resource to get motivated and find ways to meet the 2 ½ hours of recommended physical activity per week. But the volunteer coaches are not trained to deliver Minds in Motion at home. Please connect with your Minds in Motion coordinator to discuss how the volunteer coach can help you.

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About the program

Is the staff trained to work with people with dementia? View answer

Yes. The physical activity program leader and all volunteers have been trained in dementia specific education, as developed and delivered by the Alzheimer Society of Ontario. Also, the Minds in Motion coordinator is an Alzheimer Society staff who will be attending each and every session.

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Should you be delivering a fitness program without Certified Fitness Instructors? View answer

The physical activity program leaders will be carefully chosen to meet the needs of participants and will have the required certifications for healthy and safety as required by their employer and the province. They will be receiving training from the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging (CCAA). The CCAA is Canada’s leader in research and training for senior fitness instructors, and is developing the Minds in Motion physical activity framework and program curriculum.
Minds in Motion proposes a fun introduction to physical activity. The program is meant to motivate you. Regular physical activity is safe for most people however it’s always a good idea to inform your doctor of any changes in your routine.

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Will I really see a difference after 8 weeks? View answer

After the 8-week program, you can expect the following: For the person with dementia:
• Improved balance, mobility, flexibility, and alertness
• Increased confidence, and comfort with their own situation.
For the carepartner, it’s an opportunity to focus on their own health, rather than focusing exclusively on the needs of the person they are caring for. Other benefits include:
• Mutual support and learning of coping strategies from other care partners
• Seeing the person they are caring for enjoying themselves.
And both the person with dementia and his or her care partner can benefit from:
• Sharpened mental functioning, sometimes lasting 2-3 days
• Reduced sense of isolation.
Minds in Motion proposes a fun introduction to physical activity. The program is meant to motivate you. Regular physical activity is safe for most people however it’s always a good idea to inform your doctor of any changes in your routine.

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Will this program help me/the person I am caring for lose weight? View answer

Minds in Motion is not a fitness program. The aim of the program is to focus on physical, mental and social stimulation a combination that can contributes to improved brain health for everyone, which can slow the progression of Alzheimer’s symptoms, and could help decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

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Who will be delivering the various components of the program? View answer

The program has a 45 to 60 minute physical activity component delivered by a physical activity program leader, typically employed by the multi-service centre where the program is being delivered, and trained by the Canadian Centre for Activity and Aging or a certified trainer registered with this Centre. The 45 to 60 minute social component is being facilitated by an Alzheimer Society program staff. Depending on the Society delivering the program, other skilled volunteers could be supporting the program, including:
• A coach could be available to offer additional motivation and provide one-on-one support as you work towards meeting your individual activity goals.
• A therapeutic recreation specialist could lead the mentally stimulating activities during the weekly sessions.
To help throughout, friendly, enthusiastic and caring volunteers are also present during the entire program.

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Do I need to do this at home as well? View answer

Currently, Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults aged 65 and older should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Minds in Motion has been developed with a home component that we encourage all participants to do to help meet the 2 ½ hours of activity stated in the guidelines.

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For participants

Can anyone sign-up? View answer

Minds in Motion is a program intended for people with early to mid-stage signs of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias and their care partners. Upon sign-up, participants will be asked a few questions to ensure the program is the right fit for them.

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Can someone with another type of dementia, other than Alzheimer’s disease, participate? View answer

Yes. Anyone currently living with an early to mid-stage dementia is welcomed in the program. Dementia is an umbrella term for a variety of brain disorders of which Alzheimer's disease is the most common form, accounting for 64 per cent of all dementias in Canada. Regardless of the type of dementia, people who have dementia and those who care for them can get information and support from the Alzheimer Society.

Upon signing up to Minds in Motion, participants will be asked a few questions to ensure the program is the right fit for them.

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Why do you sometime refer to “dementia” and other times to “Alzheimer`s”? View answer

The words “dementia” and “Alzheimer’s disease” are not interchangeable. “Dementia” refers to a group of symptoms that show there is something wrong with the brain. “Alzheimer's” is one of the causes of dementia. Other causes of dementia include vascular dementia, frontotemporal dementia, or Lewy Body disease.

When we refer to “Alzheimer`s disease,” in Minds in Motion materials, we are talking specifically about this particular illness. Our comments are based on studies that focus exclusively on Alzheimer’s disease, so the conclusions may not apply to other forms of dementias. When we refer to “dementia”, we mean all types of dementia whose symptoms affect mental tasks like memory and reasoning.

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Can we participate if neither of us have dementia but it runs in our family and we want to do what we can to reduce risk? View answer

Congratulations on taking your health in your own hands! You are right to think that the combination of physical, mental and social stimulation can decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. Minds in Motion however is for people living with an early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease—or other dementias— and their care partners. We encourage you to visit your local community centre, older adult centre or multi-service centre to find a program that would suit your interests and your needs.

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My family member is dealing with memory loss and is experiencing increasing confusion but refuses to go for an assessment. Can we still participate if he/she hasn’t been diagnosed? View answer

Although participating in the program doesn’t require a doctor’s note or reference, participants will be asked a few questions to ensure the program is the right fit for them. Alzheimer's disease is a brain disease where brain cells progressively degenerate, affecting thinking ability, memory, behaviour, mood and emotions. In the early and middle stages of Alzheimer’s, some of the symptoms include: noticeable gaps in memory and increasing help needed with day-to-day activities, but most are still aware of their condition. If this fits your condition, we’d be happy to welcome you! While participating, you will also have an opportunity to learn more about Alzheimer disease and other dementias, both from other participants and the Minds in Motion coordinator who is an Alzheimer Society staff. This staff person will be able to get you connected to other services that may assist with diagnosis.

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The person I am caring for has mild/moderate Alzheimer; is it too late to see any benefits? View answer

It’s not too late. Regular physical activity for people with mild or moderate dementia leads to a significant reduction in depression, an increased sense of independence and an improvement in quality of life. Currently, Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines recommend adults aged 65 and older should accumulate at least 2 ½ hours of moderate-to-vigorous physical activity per week. Benefits gained during the program may not be sustained unless you aim for the 2 ½ hours guideline.

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The person I am caring for is in the late stage of the disease; can the program help? View answer

Minds in Motion specifically targets individuals living with early to mid-stage Alzheimer’s disease—or other dementias— and their care partners. People in the late stage need extensive help with daily activities, will have difficulty communicating verbally and looking after themselves. Under these conditions, they will not be able to participate and benefit from the program. Please contact your local Alzheimer Society who can refer you to day programs and inform you of other resources available.

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Can I sign up for the program again? View answer

Absolutely! Priority will be given to new participants, but if space is available, we certainly hope you will have enjoyed the program enough to want to sign-up again.

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How long can we continue participating for? Is there a point in which we wouldn’t be permitted to continue on? View answer

As long as space is available to you, you are welcomed to sign-up again to the program. However, as the disease progresses, some participants with later stage dementia may not be able to fully benefit from the program; your participating Society can refer you to more appropriate services. Please connect with the Minds in Motion coordinator if you have any questions.

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Can I access the program and just do it at home? View answer

Since we are carefully evaluating the many benefits this program, it is really important for us to learn everything we can about how to best frame it for best possible outcomes for participants. That’s one of the reasons we are asking you to take part in the official on-site program. By joining Minds in Motion® you will work with qualified staff, receive reference materials to take home as well as instructions on how to engage in these activities at home. If you can’t sign-up to the Minds in Motion program in your community, please visit the website for more helpful information… and remember to aim for 2 ½ hours of physical activity per week!

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Why can’t I drop off the person I am caring for? View answer

Minds in Motion is intended for the person with dementia and his or her care partner. This is how some of the benefits of the program come into play, such as the opportunity to reconnect with your partner outside of the illness, have fun together, and learn from one another. Minds in Motion also helps care partners to focus on their own health, rather than focusing exclusively on the needs of the person they are caring for. It also provides an environment where you can establish new friendships with others who are living the same experiences. If you are interested in respite care, please connect with the Minds in Motion coordinator who can provide you with information on available resources. If you cannot attend one session, please discuss your situation with the local Minds in Motion coordinator who will be able to assess the situation.

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Brain-healthy lifestyle

Can physical activity prevent Alzheimer’s disease? View answer

No treatment can guarantee the prevention of dementia. We know, though, that lifestyle choices that keep mind and body fit have the potential to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may slow the disease progression. For example, according to a 2013 Ontario Brain Institute study, being physically active is associated with a 40% reduced risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease; by having blood circulate to the brain, it nourishes the cells with nutrients and oxygen, and it encourages the development of new cells and new connections. Adults aged 65 and older should accumulate at least 150 minutes of moderate-to-high-levels of intense aerobic physical activity per week, in bouts of 10 minutes or more.

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Will being socially connected prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease? View answer

No treatment can guarantee the prevention of dementia. We know, though, that lifestyle choices that keep mind and body fit have the potential to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may slow the disease progression. For example, when you interact with other people, it encourages thinking, feeling, analyzing, reasoning and intuition, activities that help develop connections between brain cells; with more connections between brain cells, cognitive function can be maintained longer.

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Will challenging my brain mentally prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s disease? View answer

No treatment can guarantee the prevention of dementia. We know, though, that lifestyle choices that keep mind and body fit have the potential to decrease the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and may slow the disease progression. So just as physical activity improves your body's ability to function, keeping your brain active helps increase the brain’s networks of connections and maintains brain health throughout life.

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Last Updated: 11/08/2017