Thousands of rest home residents take to streets for World Alzheimer’s Day


Walkers, cyclists and wheelchair users in Flanders stimulated body and mind last week in the lead-up to World Alzheimer’s Day

Walking to the past

Road users across Flanders might have been surprised last week to come across row upon row of wheelchair users taking to the pavements and cycle paths. That activity and many more were part of a week of events organised around World Alzheimer’s Day.

Senior Living Group, which runs a number of day centres and rest homes in Belgium, launched events to get residents and their caregivers – as well as family, friends and neighbourhood locals­ – moving. People walking and cycled, but the paths were also full of wheelchairs and handily adapted bicycles.

“A half an hour in the fresh air has a calming effect, lowers cholesterol and reduces stress,” said Senior Living Group in a statement, “All of those are crucial for our residents.”

The week-long programme was called Wandeling naar het verleden, or Walking to the Past, as physical activity is also known to be beneficial to neurocognitive functioning. “We invited people to walk together to trigger memories,” said the group. “Certain sights, buildings, places with a special meaning – these stimulate our residents with Alzheimer’s.”

Different Senior Living centres organised other activities, including a neurology conference in Anderlecht, the introduction of a new fit-o-meter – which leads residents through outdoor activities taking everyone’s abilities into consideration – at the 3 Eiken centre in Lanaken, and testing out a new wheelchair walk in Diest.

Senior Living Group cares for some 12,500 elderly residents in 120 permanent and temporary care homes across Belgium. It also has a home health care unit that serves some 9,000 people living at home. It is part of the French Korian care group.

Photos courtesy Senior Living Group