March 11, 2016 8:01 pm

Gym geared towards people living with dementia opens in Halifax

WATCH ABOVE: A dementia-focused fitness facility in Halifax aims to break down exercise barriers that people living with the disease face. Alexa MacLean was at the official opening to see who's benefiting from this new space.


A new fitness facility in Halifax geared towards helping dementia patients is the first of its kind in North America.

Northwood’s Pauline Potter Fitness Facility collaborated with dementia specialists at the University of Stirling in Scotland to create a space that would make it easier for those living with the disease to exercise.

READ MORE: Halifax man not giving up on life after dementia diagnosis

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“Some basic elements of a dementia friendly design are color and contrast, really good lighting, orientation and way-finding, fixtures and the fittings that you use in your bathrooms,”said Natasha Handspiker, manager of Reboom at Northwood.

Wide-open space makes navigating with a wheelchair or walker more manageable, and fitness consultants are on-site to help those with questions.

“I think it’s lovely, more modern, more room. People that want to come in, they help them, they show them what to do,” said Willena Clattenburg, a Northwood resident.

The centre caters to the elderly and has a loyal following, like 93-year-old Cecilia.

“Cecilia comes and works out with us twice a week, and we’re working on some functional training right now. This allows her to do everyday things,”said Donna Hyland, a fitness consultant at Northwoodcare.

The gym is open to the public and and is a safe place for caretakers to bring their family or friends.

Paul Fraser and his wife Joyce come to the facility often.

Joyce has been living with dementia for two years and Paul enjoys the opportunity it gives them to connect with the community.

“It’s not only the gym, but just walking through the building, everybody’s so friendly and the staff wave, it’s just a cool experience,” he said.

More information on the facility is available on the Pauline Potter Fitness Facility website.

© 2016 Shaw Media

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