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New Walking Program for Alzheimer's and Related Dementia Patients

Posted Apr 19 2011 8:46am
The objective of the Early Stage Memory Loss Walking Program is to offer individuals experiencing memory loss the opportunity for regular exercise and a space to build relationships in a structured and meaningful way....
Alzheimer's Reading Room

Exercise, Walking and Socialization. Ever read those words here?

As many of you know, it is my belief that exercise, bright light, and socialization are a few of the key reasons that Dotty is still living her life and thriving.

This will explain in part why I am so excited about the new program described below. Yes, this could be the start of something big. A pilot program that if successful, scratch that, when successful could make a big difference in the lives of Alzheimer's and dementia patients all over the world.

I know we often think that not enough is happening to help Alzheimer's patients and their caregivers. Well, this is the kind of grass roots program that will make a difference and will improve lives.

Right now, the Alzheimer’s Association, Western and Central Washington State Chapter is looking for the "just right" volunteers to get this pilot program off the ground.

This program is going to marry Alzheimer's patients and Alzheimer's caregivers. No doubt this is important.

I am willing to bet that like me, some of these Alzheimer's caregivers are going to notice the positive effect that socialization, bright light, and exercise can have on an Alzheimer's patient. Next thing you know, they are going to think "more there". Once that happens they'll be on the road to happy, productive, Alzheimer's caregiving.

The program described below is being funded by a grant from MetLife through the national Alzheimer's Association. This is a pilot program that will set the framework for a program that could be rolled out nationally. The Seattle Parks Department’s Sound Steps program and Rebecca Logsdon , PhD, University of Washington, School of Nursing are also involved.

Please read the information below and if you can help -- help. Get involved.

Who knows? Once the program gets the results, maybe you can start a similar program in your neighborhood. Patience.

You have to walk before you can run, so let's start walking.


The Alzheimer’s Association, Western and Central Washington State Chapter needs your help to support individuals in the beginning stages of memory loss by volunteering for our new Early Stage Walking Program.

The objective of the Early Stage Memory Loss Walking Program is to offer individuals experiencing memory loss the opportunity for regular exercise and a space to build relationships in a structured and meaningful way. This program will take place on Saturday mornings, June through August, at the Jefferson Community Center in the Beacon Hill neighborhood of Seattle.

All potential volunteers will go through an application process and receive specialized training, on-going support, and a wealth of resources to ensure a fun and rewarding volunteer experience! If you are interested in learning more about this program, please contact Samantha Woodward at 1-800-848-7097 ext. 229 or

Description of Position:

The volunteer will lead participants in the early stages of memory loss in a 90 minute weekly program consisting of warm-up exercises, walking and socialization.

Volunteer Responsibilities:

  • Share a commitment to physical activity for individuals experiencing the early stages of memory loss.
  • Pertinent background and/or personal life experience with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia. It is strongly encouraged that volunteers for this program have experience working with individuals with cognitive impairments.
  • Complete the Alzheimer’s Association Western and Central Washington State Chapter’s Early Stage Memory Loss Walking Program Volunteer training in May 2011.
  • Willingness to make to commit to volunteering twelve Saturday morning sessions during June-August 2011. (Exceptions are understandable)
  • Possess physical ability to comfortably lead group warm-up stretches and walk for 30-45 minutes at a time.
  • Possess good communications skills and ability/interest in interacting with the program attendees both during the walking and socialization/health promotion parts of the program.

Pre-meeting Responsibilities:

  • Purchase healthy snacks for participants (funds will be provided).
  • Arrange room setup if the room is not normally arranged appropriately.
  • Post directional signage as needed.
  • Assist Chapter in disseminating promotional and incentive materials

Day of Meeting Responsibilities:

  • Arrive promptly. Greet and welcome participants and complete attendance form.
  • Lead stretches/warm up activities for the first 10 minutes.
  • Promptly return study attendance forms to the Chapter after last walking session in September.
  • Facilitate peer-to-peer sharing and lead the health-promotion discussions during the socialization period of the program.
  • Contact Chapter promptly following walking session with any questions or concerns.
  • Encourage participants to participate in Chapter activities and programs, such as Advocacy events, education conferences, and fundraising events such as the Walk to End Alzheimer’s.

Keri Pollock
Communications Director | Storyteller
Western & Central Washington State Chapter
North Tower
100 W. Harrison Street, N200
Seattle, WA 98119 | 206.363.5500, ext. 246

Other Seattle events:
A Reason to Hope Community Breakfast
7th Annual Tasteful Evening Chef & Wine Dinner

Read More on the Alzheimer's Reading Room

Original content Bob DeMarco, the Alzheimer's Reading Room

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