Human aging brings with it a number of pernicious effects: health and functional decline, social withdrawal, and a greater risk of worsening quality of life. The practice of art, and more specifically participatory art-based activity, can increase elder well-being and quality of life, which suggests a real impact on health. With this backdrop, the Centre of Excellence on Longevity — with the help of the Foundation of the Jewish General Hospital, of McGill University’s Faculty of Medicine, and of the Montreal Museum of Fine Arts — has put in place an innovative new program marrying art and health: the Montreal Arts & Longevity Lab.
Engaging in productive and enjoyable leisure activities is associated with many health benefits in seniors (e.g., enhanced well-being, improved physical health, decreased risk of dementia, and reduced use of healthcare resources). Despite the well-documented importance and benefits of leisure activities, there are several known barriers which can make participation difficult (i.e., mobility problems, travel distance, poor mood). Thus, mobile health (mhealth) technology represents a viable alternative to potentially mitigate these obstacles by bringing the activity to the user.
Dementia is a significant health issue because of its high prevalence and incidence, which is estimated to reach 20% in older population, but also because of its adverse consequences for both patients (e.g., disability, institutionalization) and the broader healthcare system (e.g., increased expenditures). Predicting individuals at risk for dementia provides an opportunity to act on potent risk factors, with the aim of reducing its incidence rate. Slow walking speed and subjective cognitive impairment (SCI), defined as perceived changes in cognition in the absence of objective impairment, are two clinical characteristics which have been independently associated with an increased risk of dementia.
Gait speed is a simple and reliable clinical measure of performance, safety and gait control. It reflects the integrated performance of multiple peripheral organ systems (e.g.; perceptual system, peripheral nervous system, muscles, bone and/or joints) which are controlled by the central nervous system. Numerous brain regions are involved in gait control during selfpaced walking to maintain a safe and optimal performance.
Game-D2 – Dairy product, vitamin-calcic supplement and cognitive-motor function – a randomized clinical trial
Gait and posture disorders are very frequently found in subjects aged 65 and more, at prevalence between 25 and 30%. These are frequently caused by neuromuscular and cognitive disorders.
Number of studies have shown that 1) Vitamin D deficiency is frequent in subjects aged over 65, and can even reach 80% in the women of that group; 2) subjects suffering from Vitamin D deficiency present lower muscular, gait and execution performances, and become less able more rapidly than non-Vitamin D-deficient subjects; and 3) taking Vitamin D, combined with Calcium or not, may increase muscular force and cognitive performances.
These “non-skeletal” effects of vitamin-calcic supplements are partially dependent on the initial levels of Vitamin D deficiency. The greater the deficiency, the more notable the supplements’ effects.