Ofelia Morales, now 88, and Lucero Dorame partner up during Elder Rehab, an exercise and memory- and language-stimulation program sponsored by the Tucson Jewish Community Center.

Elder Rehab, an exercise, memory- and language-stimulation program for people with mild to moderate memory problems, needs participants for its fall session.

Dr. Sharon Arkin, a clinical psychologist who developed and directs the program, said among the 10 openings are two spots for Spanish-speakers. The maximum enrollment is 35.

The fall session begins this week, but enrollment has been extended. It is held at the Tucson Jewish Community Center, 3800 E. River Road. The center sponsors Elder Rehab.

The program partners with University of Arizona interns and volunteers who supervise their partners in 20 twice-weekly, two-hour sessions. Each session consists of an hour of physical exercise and an hour of memory and language exercises and games, said Arkin.

Arkin headed the federally funded UA research project on which the current program is based.

The cost is $275 per semester. Late entrants will be accepted on a pro-rated basis, Arkin said. There is a nonrefundable assessment fee of $60, but no fee is charged to those returning from the spring 2018 session.

Participants must meet the following criteria:

  • Mild to moderate memory loss (MMSE 18+, with exceptions for good communicators).
  • Ambulatory (canes or walkers allowed).
  • Bowel continence (Depends or pads are allowed).
  • Able to follow one- or two-step directions.
  • Able to communicate understandably (repetition, some confabulation is fine).
  • Reliable transportation to and from the JCC.
  • Caregiving partner consent and involvement (an accompanying person can use the center’s gym for free during the participant’s sessions).
  • Physician’s consent is needed to participate.

Those interested in the program need to contact Arkin at 603-2912 or sharonmerlearkin@gmail.com

Contact reporter Carmen Duarte at cduarte@tucson.com or 573-4104. On Twitter: @cduartestar