In case you missed it, here is the link to the June 10th ARCRA Webinar on Brain Heath presented in partnership with AARP. It featured Sarah Lenz Lock AARP Senior Vice President of Policy and Brain Health and Executive Director of AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (see bio below). The program was a conversational interview format, moderated by David Therkelsen, ARCRA Past President, and former CEO of the St. Paul chapter and interim CEO of the North Central Blood Services Region.
Sarah talked about the Six Pillars of Brain Health https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/the-science/ to reduce the risk of cognitive decline. They are easily remembered through the acronym BE MORE:
- Be Social
- Engage your Brain
- Manage Stress
- Ongoing Exercise-150 minutes per week
- Restorative Sleep-7 to 8 hours per day
- Eat Right
Sarah encouraged us to take advantage of a unique offer from AARP during June, Brain Health Awareness Month. Take the AARP Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment for free (normally $14.00). The free assessment is a limited-time offer good from June 1-June 30, 2021 for AARP members https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/about/brain-health/assessment-free-june/. The Brain Assessment will provide a personalized plan on how you can maintain your brain health.
Access Staying Sharp, https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/ a brain health program that offers a holistic, life-style based approach to brain health based on science. The site provides self-paced activities and presents lifestyle choices that can be added to your daily routine. You can access:
- Brain Health Challenges-practical, daily skills
- Information on lifestyle habits that help or hinder brain health
- Activities that you can easily add to your daily routine
- Recipes with ingredients that nourish mind and body
- Games that are challenging and fun
Staying Sharp provides evidence-based strategies of what works, focusing on lifestyle interventions not pharmaceuticals. Some of us on the webinar were hopeful maintaining brain health was as simple as increasing the daily number of Crossword and Sudoku puzzles we mastered. While taking on more difficult versions can be challenging and personally satisfying, we were disappointed to hear they will not maintain cognitive function. On the other hand, participating in a challenge that involves social interaction like Words Games with Friends or Scrabble, can help to build up our cognitive reserve.
Music is also incredibly powerful in stimulating the brain https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/music/ . We all enjoy listening to music we know from “our generation” because it can provide comfort, calm, and reduce stress. However, to stimulate you brain, challenge it to listen to new and different styles of music...Hip-hop anyone?
The social isolation related to COVID-19 protocols have negatively impacted our brain and physical health https://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/global-council-on-brain-health/covid/. Many of us lost our social interactions, like visits with friends and grandchildren, travel, and our regular routine of attending religious services, weekly bridge games, volunteering, and family and community events and celebrations. Others put off needed medical visits or treatments and now face more severe and threatening health issues as a result.
Sarah also referenced the wealth of Brain Health research and resources found online at AARP to help each of us maintain and improve our Brain Health as we age. Check out these resources on Brain Health: