Stettler Public Library wants to get ‘Minds in Motion’

Alzheimer file photo
Written by Stu Salkeld

“Minds in Motion” is a special program promoted by the Alzheimer Society of Canada coming to the Stettler Public Library this fall. From left are Stettler Public Library Assistant Manager Crystal Friars, SRC Fitness Centre Supervisor Charlene Baharally and Stettler Public Library Manager Rhonda O’Neill. ECA Review/S.Salkeld

The Stettler Public Library and several key partners want to fight back against Alzheimer’s and other mental decline issues by offering a special program that could bring energy and excitement to some local lives.

“Minds in Motion” is a special program being offered at the library, which is located in the Stettler Rec Centre (SRC) over the next couple of months that addresses several issues related to common mental decline conditions.

Library Manager Rhonda O’Neill said in an interview at the library the program is aimed at making life better for those suffering mental decline and brings several partners together to make it happen.

“It’s a beautiful partnership,” said O’Neill Sept. 29.

O’Neill explained Minds in Motion is owned and was developed by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and combines physical activity with socializing and cognitive activity, addressing virtually all areas of concern for people with early to middle stages of Alzheimer’s Disease or other mental decline conditions.

The library manager stated it’s well documented that physical activity and socializing slow the decline of mental and cognitive functions.

Minds in Motion will be a two-hour program held every Wednesday at SRC from Oct. 12 to Dec. 7 from 1 p.m. to 3 p.m.

The first hour will feature physical activity under the expert supervision of SRC Fitness Centre Supervisor Charlene Baharally who said participants will engage in gentle exercises with the aid of their caregivers, who should attend the program with their family member.

Baharally said her goal is to give participants something to build on every week and hopefully participants will do these activities at home to keep moving; she advised people to know their limitations.

There will be a healthy snack break and the second hour will be an active mind noted O’Neill. Participants will enjoy games recommended by the Alzheimer Society of Canada and some other games tweaked for this program, along with some crafts and of course social interaction by the participants.

Assistant Library Manager Crystal Friars stated that challenges facing Alzheimer’s sufferers were only compounded by the COVID-19 pandemic which made it that more difficult for people to get outside and socialize.

To that end library staff noted the launch of Minds in Motion is supported by the Alberta Blue Cross COVID-19 Community Roots Program.

O’Neill stated library staff see patrons come into the library who may need a program like Minds in Motion, while staff themselves also see the need as both O’Neill and Friars have family members who are coping with physical and cognitive decline. They also agreed there are likely plenty of people in the Stettler region who are caring for a family member who may benefit from a free, local program like Minds in Motion.

“We just thought there was a need,” said O’Neill.

O’Neill added Minds in Motion is also a great opportunity for caregivers and other supporters to make contacts with other people in the community facing the same challenges.
Friars pointed out the Stettler Public Library hosts a caregivers support group once a month the first Tuesday of every month at 1 p.m.

The program is free of charge but is intended for participants who are experiencing certain types of physical and cognitive decline; those interested in participating should call the library at 403-742-2292 as preregistration is required.

Stu Salkeld
Local Journalism Initiative reporter
ECA Review

About the author

Stu Salkeld

Stu Salkeld, who has upwards of 28 years of experience in the Alberta community newspaper industry, is now covering councils and other news in the Stettler region and has experience working in the area as well.

He has joined the ECA Review as a Local Journalism Initiative Journalist.

Stu earned his two-year diploma in print journalism from SAIT in Calgary from 1993 to ’95 and was raised in Oyen, Alta., one of the communities within the ECA Review’s coverage area.