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UT students work to improve seniors' mental health

Students at the University of Tennessee are making a difference in the community and trying to improve the mental health of those with dementia.
Published: Oct. 21, 2020 at 4:04 PM EDT
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KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) - Students at the University of Tennessee are making a difference in the community and trying to improve the mental health of those with dementia.

The students, led by junior Selena Xue, are part of a group chapter called the Brain Exercise Initiative. Its mission is to improve cognitive function in residents with dementia or Alzheimer’s Disease with simple math, reading out loud and writing. Xue said the exercises come from a study being done in Japan.

Xue, the leader and the group’s founder, said, “They’ve been doing this multiple times in a lot of retirement homes in Japan. They’ve done these exercises 30 minutes a day, five times a week.” Xue said the study authors have seen improvements in seniors such as regaining control of their bowel movements and seniors who were bedridden being able to sit in chairs or even walk.

The group conducts the sessions five times a week for 30 minutes. They’re free, but it’s done virtually due to the pandemic.

Xue said the group is looking for more retirement homes and more adult day programs to assist. If there are any retirement homes, adult day programs, or seniors that are interested in joining the program, please email Selena Xue at: Sxue3@vols.utk.edu

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