October 3, 2017

Brain HealthThe Internet provides us with immediate answers to virtually any question it is possible to imagine, learning opportunities beyond what we might have dreamed about a generation back, socialization enhancement, and much more. One of the more worthwhile web developments for those of us in the senior care industry has been brain training programs – the computerized memory games and puzzles that contribute to enhanced brain health. But just how well do they really succeed?

AARP has been recently looking into just that, sharing findings in an interesting report, Engage Your Brain. Even though further research is recommended to better grasp the long-term benefit of mind-stimulating exercises, what we do know for sure is that neuron connections can be improved through learning, bringing about the brain’s ability to transform structure, function, and chemistry, a concept known as brain plasticity. This ability stays in place while the brain ages.

In one particular study, the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), seniors’ cognitive performance as well as memory exhibited a great improvement of as much as 63% whenever using Internet-based cognitive training programs. Besides that, older persons who participated in the study displayed a 48% less chance of causing auto accidents, and were able to more effectively handle such daily responsibilities as money management, taking medicines, and more.

Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder of Posit Science (creators of the Brain HQ program), has run a number of scientific studies to better identify the results of specific Internet brain strengthening applications, particularly, whether cognitive decline can be minimized or slowed. The final results indicated a noticeable improvement in memory, with participants’ memory recall equivalent to people 10 years their junior. Alternatively, exercises such as crossword puzzles failed to show an impact on cognitive decline, with seniors who consistently engage in crossword puzzles still behind the younger generation in their particular degree of performance. Even so, in comparison with other seniors who did not perform crossword puzzles, functioning does appear to be a bit enhanced. Dr. Merzenich describes it as, “Crossword puzzles might improve your cognitive function, but it’s equally likely that having good cognitive function encourages you to do crossword puzzles.” Dr. Merzenich talks about his results in more depth in this TED Talk.

It is necessary for individuals to sufficiently investigate Internet-based programs that guarantee to enhance a senior’s memory or brain health, since there have been a number of businesses recently who’ve been proven to falsely advertise these types of claims.

Continuum of St. Louis supplies opportunities for senior citizens to optimize cognitive functioning through mentally stimulating games, reminiscing, socialization and a lot more. Contact us for in-home suggestions for your client or senior loved one!