'Minds in Motion' Helps Seniors Exercise their Brains

Published Date:
Oct. 19, 2017 — Seniors with cognitive impairment, such as dementia or early stage Alzheimer’s disease, are invited to join a new program designed to improve their quality of life. With a focus on cognitive, physical and emotional health, Minds in Motion uses themed programs, brain games, light exercise, interaction and a communal meal to engage participants’ five senses. The Center for Alzheimer’s Disease and Related Disorders at Southern Illinois University Medicine is coordinating the program, funded by the Community Foundation for the Land of Lincoln King’s Daughters Organization Blackstock Fund.
“We’re not going to focus on what we can’t do,” said Project Coordinator Susan Helm. “We’re going to focus on what we can do in a positive, nurturing, inclusive environment.” Each 4-hour-program includes interactive activities like tai chi, chair exercises, art, music, dancing, cooking and gardening.
Minds in Motion is modeled after the original Minds in Motion program established in Champaign, Ill., which has shown numerous benefits, including:
  • Improved brain function
  • Increased core strength
  • Improved mood and emotional wellbeing
  • Improved balance
  • Relaxation
Champaign participants describe the program as “understanding” and “welcoming.” “The time my husband spends at Minds in Motion is the best time for him. He enjoys being there so much and feels so comfortable with the group,” one caregiver shared.
The class will meet 10 a.m. – 2 p.m. the first and third Wednesday of each month beginning November 1st at the First United Methodist Church, 2941 S. Koke Mill Rd., Springfield. Minds in Motion includes 16 sessions through June. Registration is not required, and participants may attend as many or as few classes as they wish. The cost to attend is $20 per session for participants and $10 per session for spouses or caregivers. Money raised goes to support the program.
Participants should dress comfortably, as the program will require movement and interaction with a variety of materials. Those interested in attending must be continent and able to communicate and should not be at risk for wandering. For more information, contact Susan Helm at 217-502-3992 or
The program is also seeking volunteers. Volunteers are required to participate in a one-hour training session prior to starting and are not required to attend all sessions. Interested volunteers may contact Susan Helm at 217-502-3992 or
Schedule an interview or request more information by contacting SIU Medicine's Office of Public Relations and Communications:
Karen Carlson
Lauren Murphy

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