Love to Move with Jan and Martin

After four months of weekly sessions, Jan and Martin are enjoying the benefits of Love to Move.

The couple from Northwich, Cheshire have been part of a pilot scheme with the Alzheimer’s Society in Cheshire where Love to Move sessions have been running during the winter lockdown over Zoom.

Love to Move is a seated movement and cognitive enhancement programme based on fundamental gymnastics movements and is aimed at older people from 55 to 105. Love to Move particularly benefits people living with dementia or other cognitive disease.

Martin lives with early onset dementia (PCA) which affects his sight.

“Initially I was unsure whether he would be able to participate in the programme and whether it would be beneficial for him,” said Jan.

“He did find the first session quite challenging, and it made me more aware of some limitations he had – particularly in relation to fine motor skills and upper body flexibility.

“Our course leader, Nicole was quick to recognise his difficulties and worked with us on a 1:1 basis to overcome these.

“With Nicole’s constant praise and encouragement, Martin soon gained in confidence and we were able to work at our own pace adopting mirroring to aid his sight difficulties.

Despite early difficulties, Jan started to see Martin progress over the weeks with improvements with certain exercises along with his timing of movements with music.

“In such a short time, Martin has made really good progress with the activities which has had a knock-on effect in his everyday living. I have noticed how it has become easier for him to raise his arms when dressing and he is now able to fasten some smaller buttons. It also has a mood enhancing effect. On occasions we might have had a stressful start to the day, but Martin always leaves the session with a smile on his face!

“I enjoy the sessions too! They have really challenged my own thinking and I love sharing some of the activities with friends and family!”

Nicole, one of the British Gymnastics Foundation’s Love to Move deliverers added: “It has been a pleasure working with Martin and Jan.

“They join my class every week and they continue to practice in their own time different parts of the Love to Move programme.

“The encouragement and positivity from Jan helped Martin gradually build the flexibility and coordination skills needed to make everyday tasks easier.”

This week (17th – 23rd May) is Dementia Awareness Week. According to the Alzheimer’s Society, nearly 1 million people live with dementia in the UK and their families are struggling to get the support and care that they need and deserve.

The British Gymnastics Foundation has helped 440 people to come through the Love to Move training course to deliver the programme to thousands of people living with dementia across the country.

See more about our Love to Move programme below.