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Seattle Parks and Recreation pilots new Dementia-Friendly recreation opportunities for locals

Posted by Danielle Anthony-Goodwin on January 8th, 2014

Throughout 2014 Seattle Parks and Recreation are set to pilot a variety of recreation programming geared to persons who live with memory loss. The “dementia–friendly” activities aim to enhance the lives of locals living with early stage memory loss.

The activities and programs are set to offer participants and their care partners a chance to engage, create, learn, and be active in a stimulating and supportive environment. The variety of dementia-friendly recreation programs will include activities such as vigorous fitness class at Miller Community Center, watercolor painting at the Seattle Japanese Garden and Volunteer Park, a snowshoe hike near Snoqualmie Pass, a memory loss walking group at Woodland Park Zoo, and a volunteer program at Cherry Street Food Bank.

The program is already gaining support with members of the community who are living with memory loss. “The Memory Loss Zoo Walk is designed to get us out into the fresh air so we can have fun and socialize, and to help us feel we’re part of a supportive community,” says one participant who lives with memory loss.

Seattle Parks and Recreation will partner with local organizations including Greenwood Senior Center, the Alzheimer’s Association, Aegis on Madison, Elderwise and Outdoors for All to make the recreation program possible. “It’s exciting that we’re working with community partners to expand opportunities for people living with memory loss,” says Parks Recreation Specialist Mari Becker.

The Dementia-friendly recreation programs are being piloted in response to the growing number of people living with dementia in the local community. According to Seattle Parks and Recreation, over 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s disease, and that number is expected to triple by the year 2050. Many who are diagnosed feel fearful, lost and alone and programs such as these aim to assist people to stay connected and enjoy life.

“The new dementia story is about hope, meaning and connection. And the entire community can play a part in making that happen,” writes Becker.

To get more information, to volunteer or to register for a program, please contact Mari Becker at (206) 684-4664 or email mari.becker@seattle.gov.

To learn more about the programs check out the Life Long Recreation Facebook page and their website.

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