An activity day was recently organised at Coed y Brenin for those who attend Gwynedd Council’s DementiaGo classes.
As part of the event, an exercise class and guided walk was held to celebrate the efforts of all those who take part in the regular sessions held at Council leisure centres across the county.
DementiaGo classes were launched in Gwynedd in November 2014, with the aim of helping people living with Dementia and their caregivers by introducing them to specific group exercise sessions to help improve their physical functioning.
The scheme is funded through an Intermediate Care Grant from the Welsh Government to help support older people maintain their independence for as long as possible, thus reducing the need for unnecessary intervention in health and social care.
DementiaGo classes are held at Bro Dysynni Leisure Centre, Tywyn; the Arfon Leisure Centre, Caernarfon and Glaslyn Leisure Centre, Porthmadog and also give people an opportunity to come together to share experiences and advice.
Over 90 Gwynedd leisure centre staff have received Dementia awareness training with the aim of creating dementia friendly leisure centres.
Emma Quaeck, Gwynedd Council’s Programme Manager for DementiaGo said: “It was inspiring that so many took part in the activity day at Coed y Brenin near Dolgellau. Over 28 customers from the classes in Porthmadog, Tywyn and Caernarfon as well as the staff took part in the activities. There was lots of fun to be had and it was especially good to see everyone chatting to each other and helping those who needed some extra assistance with some of the exercises.
“The DementiaGo classes have truly been a life line for some of those who attend. We have seen improvements in physical strength and fitness but it’s the support and camaraderie amongst all those who have been coming that’s really stood out. The strong message from the carers is that attending the classes helps them cope better.”
The DementiaGo classes will hopefully be introduced to other parts of Gwynedd in the future as part on the Exercise Referral Scheme (NERS).
Taking part in exercise classes helps to improve cognitive functioning for the person living with dementia as well as all the other benefits of being more physically active such as heart and lung health, reducing blood pressure, helping sleep patterns and reducing stress and anxiety. Also for the families or carer, looking after a loved one can be difficult and often their own health and wellbeing is neglected. Joining one of these classes and getting more physically active in a sociable environment can help towards creating a better quality of life for all.