Classes boost brain health in seniors
Once a month, 10-12 seniors at the Harbour Pointe Retirement and Assisted Living Center go to a class where they dance to music in their chairs.
“I love the rhythm and movement,” said resident Jean Stanway, 91. “It gets my brain going, it gets moving. It’s wonderful and it’s gentle exercise.”
Active Aging and Care Transitions’ Ageless Grace class meets for 30-45 minutes a time at Harbour Pointe Retirement. Ageless Grace is a movement and music program.
Diane Lasichak, owner of AACT, turns on some oldies music and gets residents in the class moving to the rhythms.
All of the Ageless Grace exercises she teaches are practiced in a chair, and Lasichak said they are natural movements that don’t require seniors to learn any special choreography.
She said the exercises focus on joint mobility, spinal flexibility, right-left brain coordination, cognitive function, as well as balance, confidence and playfulness.
Complementing Ageless Grace, AACT, which operates in Mukilteo, also provides UCLA Longevity Center’s Brain Health Programs that focus on maintaining and improving memory and brain fitness. Registration for several of these classes is open.
A two-week Memory Training course will be offered at the Rosehill Community Center. The class meets twice a week on April 23, 25, 30 and May 2 for two hours.
This interactive class teaches memory-improving techniques and includes group discussion, memory assessment and brain exercises.
It focuses on the Top 4 memory challenges Lasichak said seniors complain about: forgetting names and faces; forgetting to keep an appointment, pass on a phone message or why you walked into a room; misplacing keys, glasses or a wallet; the inability to recall what is on the “tip of the tongue.”
Register at Rosehill at 304 Lincoln Ave. or by calling 425-263-8180.
Brain Boot Camp
A three-hour Brain Boot Camp session will be offered 1-4 p.m. on June 1 and 9 a.m. to noon on June 4 at the Mukilteo Chamber of Commerce.
The workshop is designed for seniors with age-related memory concerns.
Lasichak will cover three basic steps to respond to everyday memory challenges; memory techniques for names and faces; guidelines for healthy brain nutrition, exercises and stress reduction; and take-home methods for improving memory.
“We’ll look at how you best receive and maintain information and what is keeping you from doing that,” said Lasichak, who is a UCLA certified memory programs trainer.
“What is your learning style? Maybe you’ve been learning things by a method that doesn’t work for you. Rather than you’re forgetting it, maybe you never learned it.”
Register at the Chamber Office at 4902 76th St. S.W. or by calling 425-347-1456.
A one-hour Memory Fitness course is also available through AACT, though no classes have been scheduled in Mukilteo. Classes meet twice a week for 11 sessions.
Lasichak teaches memory-improvement techniques and goes over the four keys to maintaining memory fitness: healthy diet, physical activity, stress reduction and memory training.
The UCLA Longevity Center conducts extensive research on how to improve memory and delay future memory loss. The center’s Brain Health Programs are based on that research.
These programs are not intended for seniors who have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or other forms of dementia.
AACT provides wellness programs and healthcare planning services to seniors and their families.
Lasichak started AACT a year ago, and operates her business in Mukilteo and Lansdowne, Va. She has a second home in Mukilteo.
She has nearly 40 years of experience working with seniors. She is a licensed clinical social worker, a board certified dance/movement therapist and a professional certified geriatric care manager. She is also a certified Ageless Grace educator.
“I’m trying to keep people as healthy and active as possible, and to remain in the home as long as possible,” Lasichak said.
Stanway, who has gone to all the Aging Grace classes at Harbour Pointe Retirement said she can hardly wait a month for Lasichak to return for the next class.
“I love it,” she said. “I want her to come more often.”
For more information about Active Aging and Care Transitions, or to sign up for or book these or any other programs, go to www.aactnow.biz.