Project aims to get dementia sufferers more active

Edinburgh Leisure's Movement for Memories scheme is to help people living with dementia and their carers to become more physically active.'' Picture:' Neil Hanna
Edinburgh Leisure's Movement for Memories scheme is to help people living with dementia and their carers to become more physically active.'' Picture:' Neil Hanna
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A new project has launched in the Capital to support people living with dementia to be more physically active.

It is estimated that there are currently around 8,000 people living with dementia in Edinburgh, with this figure expected to rise by 68 per cent over the next 20 years.

Delivered by Edinburgh Leisure, Movement for Memories will aid those living with dementia and their carers to get active, stay healthy and feel socially connected.

People with dementia can make a self-referral to the project, which is supported with funding from the Life Changes Trust, or be referred by a health expert or social worker.

An initial consultation will highlight which activities will fit into a unique programme which will meet the individual’s needs.

Each participant will gain access to a 12-week Edinburgh Leisure access card followed by discounted access for a further nine months to continue their activities.

Sam Scott, health development officer (Dementia) at Edinburgh Leisure said: “We understand the importance of carers’ wellbeing too so when a carer of someone with dementia is referred to Movement for Memories, they will be provided with a Carer’s Access Card, which provides a discount to encourage them to protect their health and wellbeing through regular physical activity.”

According to researchers one in three babies born in 2015 will go on to develop the condition.

The Alzheimer’s Society has found that 34 per cent of people living with dementia are not living as well as they could, and do not feel part of the community.

While there is no cure for dementia, recent studies have shown that physical 
activity may improve memory, slow down mental decline and improve mental wellbeing.

Public Health, Sport and Wellbeing Minister Joe FitzPatrick said: “Being physically active is one of the best things we can do to improve our mental health.

“The Movement for Memories project has the potential to make a real difference to the lives of many people living with dementia, and their carers.

“I am particularly impressed with the focus on the individual needs of participants, the opportunity to participate and socialise, and the wider steps Edinburgh Leisure is taking to make physical activity accessible for people living with dementia.”

Edinburgh Leisure is currently working on developing dementia friendly activities 
including swimming, gym, golf, tennis, and fitness classes, over the coming months.

The Lord Provost of Edinburgh, Frank Ross said: “Edinburgh Leisure’s new Movement for Memories project will help to contribute towards the city’s efforts in mitigating the effects of dementia.

“In a brilliant example of the kind of caring Capital Edinburgh is, the staff and volunteers involved in the programme will go above and beyond to understand the varied needs of individuals experiencing dementia and their carers. In response, they will provide a flexible programme of physical activity, helping citizens from all over the city to age well.”

For more information on the project call Sam Scott on 0131 4582209 or e-mail samscott@edinburghleisure.co.uk