The Tucson Jewish Community Center is seeking to assess interest in an intergenerational fitness/volunteer program for memory-impaired seniors and teen volunteers. The program would recreate a successful Alzheimer’s disease rehabilitation program that retired research scientist Sharon Arkin, Psy.D., ran at the University of Arizona from 1996 to 2001.
The JCC program would train pairs of high school and middle school student volunteers to supervise memory-impaired seniors in physical and mental exercises and volunteer activities, such as reading stories to children in the JCC’s preschool.
The UA program was funded by the National Institute on Aging. Arkin’s research “demonstrated that people with mild to moderate Alzheimer’s who engaged in two to four years of physical and mental exercise, along with community involvement through student-supervised volunteer work, did not decline cognitively or functionally from baseline testing on many standardized measures during their years of participation. Plus, their moods and physical fitness improved (see www.u.arizona.edu/~sarkin/ elderrehab.html),” she wrote in a 2012 article for the AJP (see http://azjewishpost. com/2012/practical-steps-to-curb-alzheimers-symptoms/).
The JCC program would likely take place for two hours twice a week in the late afternoon and be offered in 10-week cycles.
If you, or a relative or friend, have a memory problem and would be interested in participating, or if you are the parent of an eighth grade or high school student who would like to volunteer as a trainer, email Susan Frank, JCC director of health and wellness, at [email protected], with a copy to Arkin at [email protected].
To see the UA program in action, go to the following YouTube links: