Senior Living Communities at Anthem Memory Care

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Ki Aikido Classes as Alzheimer’s Therapy? Banzai!

“This is excellent!” exclaimed Anthem Memory Care resident, Tom Crow. “I would do something like this again for sure.”

Tom Crow was chatting it up about Anthem Memory Care’s inaugural Ki Aikido class, held earlier this month at Little’s Creek Park in Littleton, Colorado. Over 30 participants stretched their arms, punched the air and hollered out “Banzai!” as instructors engaged them in a variety of fun and therapeutic Ki Aikido exercises.

The class was conducted by Denver area Ki Aikido professional trainers, including Sensei, John Daniels, whose wife is a resident at Anthem’s Highline Place in Littleton. The idea to bring Ki Aikido to the Anthem community came from Jodi Cornman, Community Relations Director for Highline Place. “I am always looking for events that are exciting and encompass all of our communities,” says Jodi “Since John’s wife lives at my community, he and I have talked often about doing something for the residents at Highline Place. It was an added bonus that we could bring our 4 Denver Communities together.”

The result of their efforts is a calendar of Ki Aikido events scheduled for residents from all four of Anthem’s Colorado communities: Highline Place and Willowbrook Place in Littleton, Chelsea Place in Aurora, and Greenridge Place in Westminster.

Ki Aikido introduces freshness and variety. And that’s good for the brain.

“Alzheimer’s affects special recognition,” explains Susan Chandler, head Ki Aikido instructor. “Ki Aikido emphasizes mind-body awareness. When we do exercises, we’re helping them improve their understanding of space and movement. They’re bettering their coordination and balance.”

Studies back this up, asserting that the variety associated with unique activities helps stimulate the senses more effectively than the traditional (and repetitive) exercises that form the cornerstone of so many senior living fitness programs.

And everything is “Better Together”.

Creative activities, such as Ki Aikido, are fun for all ages! As part of their Better Together multi-generational program, Anthem worked with the Littleton YMCA to allow children, aged 10-12, to participate in the class. Better Together is a unique activity program at Anthem, built off the proven principal that multi-generational interaction is therapeutic for individuals with dementias, including Alzheimer’s.

Jodi’s colleague, Elle Fore, Life Enrichment Director at Highline Place sums it up perfectly. “My job is to bring the outside world to our residents. I don’t want them to ever be limited by stereotypes of what they should be doing.”

And, with Elle, Jodi and four Anthem communities of engaged staff, residents and family members working together, stereotypes --- well, they don’t have a chance.