While scientists have yet to find a cure for dementia, multiple studies have shown there are proven ways to significantly slow the onset and progress of cognitive impairment. At Tapestry, our holistic approach to wellness is designed to help residents maintain a vibrant and healthy lifestyle.
The research points to key actions we can all take as we age to reduce the risk of developing dementia. Exercise is at the top of the list because not only does it increase blood flow to the brain, it also contributes to better cardiovascular health, lower blood pressure, and less obesity and diabetes.
A 2022 research collaboration between the University of British Columbia (UBC) and the University of California in San Francisco featured in The Guardian found that the risk of developing dementia was reduced by 30 to 80 per cent in people who exercise. Another recent study in the United Kingdom found the risk of dementia was cut in half in people who reached the goal of 10,000 steps per day.
Every Tapestry seniors’ community offers diverse exercise programs designed to meet various fitness levels, says Natasha Lyons, RN, Wellness Manager, Tapestry at Wesbrook Village. “There is an A to Z of classes every day – everything from Gentle Fit which is a seated class with weights, to Move and Groove with music, to Balance and Bands and high-intensity aerobic classes. We also have Qigong/Tai Chi, forest walks and urban pole walking,” says Natasha. “And at Wesbrook Village we have easy access to the UBC Aquatic Centre.”
Tapestry’s fitness programs are planned by the Wellness team which includes on-staff kinesiologists, who are experts in human body movement. Specialized, one-on-one guidance is also available to support rehabilitation after injury or surgery, or general fitness improvement. Many of Tapestry’s regular excursions are planned with fitness in mind, including hiking and snowshoeing at Cypress Mountain. In addition to the variety of fitness options, Tapestry also offers opportunities every day to exercise your brain, another consideration in dementia prevention.
Lauren Manicom, Wellness Supervisor at Wesbrook Village, creates a monthly calendar that can include in-person or online lectures, language groups (e.g. French or German conversation groups), current affairs discussion groups, various musical options, and board games co-led by students from the nearby York House School (just to name a few!).
Residents at Wesbrook Village aren’t only active in participating – they also provide regular input on which programs they would like via surveys and wellness meetings, and some even lead events for fellow residents. “For example,” says Lauren, “One of our residents teaches art classes twice a week and is coordinating a presentation on art and its impact on the brain in partnership with the BC Brain Wellness community at UBC.”
Another key factor in dementia prevention is diet and nutrition. A Finnish Study conducted in 2015 found that exercise, diet, and intellectual and social stimulation helped maintain or improve cognitive function in older people at risk for Alzheimer’s disease. Specifically, they found the best diet includes plenty of leafy greens, berries, beans, nuts and fatty fish such as salmon.
Tapestry’s talented culinary teams create delicious and nutritious menus that support better health, incorporating the items mentioned above as well as seasonal produce. The menus are reviewed by a dietician, and food restrictions (such as salt) or allergies (such as diary or gluten) can be easily accommodated.
The research suggests additional ways that seniors can keep their brains healthy:
- Stay socially engaged – this is easy to do at Tapestry as we offer “Friendship Tables” where residents who might otherwise dine alone can eat with others, the benefits of which include improved appetite and taking in more nutrition (Health Canada).
- Maintain your hearing – the brain shrinks more rapidly with hearing loss, which can lead to dementia, but this can be eliminated if you wear hearing aids. And Tapestry offers convenient, on-site hearing tests by qualified professionals.
- Stay on top of your dental health – a recent study in the United States found that people with gum disease and mouth infections were more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease.
- Quit smoking and moderate alcohol use – this is good advice at any age!
“All of our offerings align with Tapestry’s 7 Dimensions of Wellness,” says Natasha. “All Tapestry communities offer endless options and choices to improve and maintain wellness. There really is something for everybody,” she adds.
Given its holistic focus on wellness, Tapestry’s seniors’ communities additionally offer assisted living services in the discretion and comfort of a resident’s suite. The broad range of customizable services, including shower and grooming support, medication assistance and blood pressure monitoring, can help residents remain independent and continue to do what they love while feeling safe and supported with health care professionals on site 24/7.
If you are looking to join a vibrant seniors’ community with residents who are living life to the fullest, please contact us. We would be pleased to host you for lunch and a tour. Our Spring move-in incentive –valued at up to $5,000 – is available when you sign a lease prior to May 31, 2023.