In a study conducted several years ago, Dr. Charles C. Hall and colleagues looked at how learning and brain-stimulating activities can increase cognitive reserves in people who developed Alzheimer’s. The study involved 488 people with an average age of 79 and followed them for 5 years, with assessments done every 12 to 18 months. The researchers looked at how many cognitive activities were done a day and then how many days a week. Some of the activities were reading, writing, crossword puzzles, board or card games, group discussions, or playing music.
Of the 488 participants, 101 developed dementia over the course of the study, but the study found that for every day they did some type of cognitive activity, the seniors were able to delay the onset of memory loss connected with dementia for about 2 months! The study also found that it didn’t seem to matter how educated a person was. The positive effects of brain-engaging activities helped everyone.
This is great news! It is never too late to build up brain reserve and the more a person exercises the brain, the more reserves they can create. This is exactly our goal at the Aspen Senior Center in Provo and Activity Day at the Taylorsville Senior Center and Millcreek Center. We want seniors who are experiencing cognitive impairment to have an enjoyable time maintaining the brain reserves they have and increasing their ability to remember and enjoy life while they are doing it. We also want to give family caregivers a respite from care-giving with out them worrying about their loved one.