Brain Health for Seniors & Their FamiliesA new brain health program for seniors and their families has been launched by Qualicare Canada Inc. This multi-lobe approach exercises the brain to prevent cognitive decline.
Brain Workout+ TM is a series of eight one-hour sessions over four weeks designed to help the increasing cohort of older people suffering from Alzheimer’s and dementia. It is also valuable for baby boomers wanting to sharpen brain power and delay cognitive decline, or even deal with common but debilitating maladies such as mental illness, depression, anxiety or learning disorders.
“The Brain Workout+ program was initially conceived after working very closely with a client over a seven-month period to help improve cognition abilities and function after a prolonged depression,” explains Andrea Nathanson, RN, co-founder of Qualicare Canada Inc. “The awakening of his brain to increasing stimulations through a personally structured neuro-aerobic and physical strengthening program fascinated me, and the brain workout program was born.”
The human brain has distinct lobes responsible for different brain functions, including physical and emotional response but also things like memory and learning. Qualicare’s Brain Workout+ program strengthens these brain functions by incorporating numerous activities such as neuro-aerobics, alpha-numerics, music, creative stimuli such as story-telling and memory recollection.
Every lobe of the brain must be stimulated in order to maintain ultimate brain health. The idea that exercising your brain like a muscle has the same benefits as exercising your body, was given impetus by the publication of The Brain That Changes Itself by respected psychiatrist and researcher, Dr. Norman Doidge. In his book, Doidge says the brain is not hardwired like a computer, but is a plastic, living organ that can actually be changed and improved.
According to Brain Canada, 50 per cent of all Canadians – approximately 15 million people – have experienced the impact of a brain disorder in their family.
Brain Workout+ is preventative in nature by reducing the risk of cognitive decline. This is becoming more and more important as instances of brain disorders like Alzheimer’s and dementia increase. According to the Alzheimer’s Society of Canada, the risk for dementia doubles every five years after age 65, and a recent Canadian Study of Health and Aging Working Group says that 1 in 20 Canadians over age 65 is affected by Alzheimer's disease and 1 in 4 over age 85.
Download our free eBook Alzheimer's Disease and Dementia Handbook to learn more about dementia and Alzheimer's disease.
“Although there are many types of brain health offerings available (on-line courses, books and workshops), to our knowledge, a holistic approach such as ours has never been done before,” Nathanson says.
“By holistic, we mean stimulating all parts of the brain with different types of exercises, bracketed by introductory physical exercise and concluding with structured relaxation. By doing this in small groups, we have found that this also encourages socialization which is a critical component of brain health. This approach has additional benefits such as increased vitality, less pain, lower blood pressure, reduced heart rate and better sleep.”
Qualicare worked with Comfort Life to developed an eBook called the Brain Health Guidebook which includes a wealth of background information and tips about brain health.
Download your free copy of the Brain Health Guidebook now.
As part of the Brain Workout+TM program, Qualicare has put together a list of tips to help seniors and their adult children maintain brain health:
Make new friends – Revel in the stimulation of sharing your feelings, hearing new stories and just staying connected with the world.
Exercise regularly – Regular aerobic exercise can boost our daily intellectual performance. It can also lower the risk of dementia; up to 38% in some studies.
Maintain a tasty, balanced diet – Are you irritable, unable to concentrate, short tempered, or restless? Eat a diet rich in vegetables, fruits, whole grains, raw nuts, wild fish, low fat meat and some dairy. Also add vitamins, minerals and essential fatty acids (such as fish oil) to your diet to improve mental health performance, improve visual acuity, and improve your mood. Foods that are rich in folate also protect the brain.
Keep your immune system strong – Taking a multi-vitamin, omega 3 fatty acids, and probiotics every day can give your immune system the boost it needs to be in top form every day.
Play games against the clock – Timed activities force us to pay attention, work fast and think nimbly.
Read – Read often and read different types of books, newspapers, journals and magazines.
Meditate – It’s great for stress relief, breathing and cleansing your mind of the day’s tensions.
Challenge yourself – Do a jig saw puzzle; the shapes and colours will help to keep you alert.
Stay intellectually engaged – Studies show that doing an activity that is intellectually engaging enhances memory by 63%. Examples of these types of activities can include reading the paper, listening to the news, or your favorite radio program, playing Sudoku or solving a crossword puzzle.
Sing & Dance – No another activity lights up as many parts of the brain as listening to music. Singing and dancing increases this stimulation exponentially.
Learn something new – Take classes about something you’ve always wanted to do. Consider photography, culinary, a new language, painting or drawing.
Sleep well – Giving your body enough rest is very important.