We hosted our first-time trial of the English version of the Smile Brain Program with 10 AMAZING participants!
A small recap of why we created this program:
We began the Smile Brain Program with a Japanese version. We had an amazing group of Japanese seniors who came together and met once a week. Because of COVID-19 and not being able to see each other face to face, we had to sadly move our program online. With help and communication with facilitators and the seniors, we were able to successfully transfer our program onto Zoom: an online video platform. The Japanese version of the Smile Brain Program sadly ended, but we were so happy to say it went successfully. We heard such amazing stories of how our program impacted their daily lives.
This is when WCHMS decided to create an English version of the Smile Brain Program. We wanted to keep educating, help prevent dementia, and reminding seniors there is a way of keeping social connections without human contact.
Our story and experience with the English Version:
We were so lucky to have found a positive group of seniors across B.C. who were willing to participate in the trial of our English Program. We started fresh at the beginning of July 2020. It was an 8 session trial with meetings every Tuesday and Friday from 10:00 am-11:30 am, 1 1/2 hour sessions.
The first session was nerve-racking, but we learnt a lot, thanks to our helpful participant feedback. We had to adjust some of our exercises and activities as everyone has different levels, respectfully.
Throughout the program, the participants increasingly noticed each session their short-term memory improve and have faster timing on each exercise. The group learnt a lot about the capacity of their working brains.
Many looked forward and enjoyed seeing people’s faces. Some also said it was nice returning to a basic routine again.
We had so much fun making jokes, laughing, and learning about the other participants. Many of the participants made friends through this program. One of our participants even met another participant all the way in Kelowna!
Some happy comments from some of our participants after the program:
“I loved meeting all the new people and realizing you need to exercise your brain all the time”
“I liked how we all work at our own level.”
“I improved in the equations each week! It started out as my worst thing!”
“I liked the challenge in the exercises and activities. It helped me see where my skills are strong and where I could improve.”
“The exercise is what I noticed got me much more limber.”
“All the people at the Smile Brain Program are so nice! It’s so easy to spend a whole 1 1/2 hours with them.”
WCHMS is so grateful to have such positive and open participants that were willing to take the time to join our program.
We can’t wait to keep continuing this program and when possible, start seeing our participants face to face.