Mind, Body & Spirit

Handmaker debuts Adventure Bus program

Handmaker, which operates a memory care assisted living unit and adult day programs, has launched the Adventure Bus, an outreach program for people with early stages of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of cognitive memory impairment.

Made possible through a compelling needs grant from the Jewish Federation of Southern Arizona, the Adventure Bus is modeled after CJE SeniorLife’s Culture Bus in Chicago, Ill., which has served individuals with early stage Alzheimer’s disease and dementia for nine years. The participants, who meet on Thursdays, join in day trips to destinations in Tucson and surrounding areas; trip days alternate with indoor activity days. Activities and amenities include docent-guided tours of exhibits and museums, creative self-expression projects, socialization, healthy meals and snacks, and supervision by a trained leader and volunteers.

Research suggests that engaging in mentally and physically stimulating activities can slow cognitive decline in people with Alzheimer’s, notes Angela Salmon, the Adventure Bus coordinator. According to the Alzheimer’s Association and the U.S. National Institute of Aging, actively engaged individuals, on average, experience less cognitive decline than their less actively engaged peers. On indoor days, the program includes therapeutic activities such as music, exercise, crafts and games, held in the Handmaker great room.

The program also provides a needed respite for caregivers, says Salmon.

The Adventure Bus offers four 10-week sessions throughout the year, meeting Thursdays at the Grand Foyer entrance of Handmaker, located at 2221 N. Rosemont Blvd. The cost of the program is $75 per day. Participants may sign up on a day-to-day basis or for the entire session. For more information, contact Salmon at 730-7984 or asalmon@handmaker.org.