Exercise and Social Program Helps Couples with Young-Onset Dementia

Award Date: 2018

Project Lead(s): Elaine Kohn, Social Worker

Project Title: An Exercise and Socialization Based Intervention for Couples Affected by Young-Onset Dementia (YOD)

What is the issue?

There are few support programs available for adults with young-onset dementia and their spouses. Most programs are tailored for older adults and do not address the needs of those who are diagnosed earlier.

What did we do?

We provided a weekly exercise and social program for six couples consisting of individuals living with young-onset dementia and their spousal caregivers. They participated in a weekly 45-minute cycling activity led by a qualified instructor at a community centre followed by a social event. The program ran weekly for six weeks.

What did we find?

Cycling provided a welcome opportunity for physical exercise to improve participants’ health and well-being. The six participants with young-onset dementia experienced improved mood. Social opportunities helped caregivers connect with others facing similar issues. The program also provided a new way for them to access information and connect with appropriate resources in their community.