Care for the Mind and Body
Accumulating evidence shows that it is possible to ward off age-related decline in cognitive function by means of regular mental exercise and physical activity. Both of these activities increase blood flow to a variety of areas within the brain, and in doing so, encourage brain cell vigor and growth. Additionally, it has been shown that socialization, reduced stress, proper nutrition, and adequate sleep help the individual bolster their functional abilities.
This form of stimulated growth and adaptation has been termed the development of a “Cognitive Reserve” – a sort of savings account for brain functionality – by scientists at Columbia University (Stern, 2006). In addition, it is widely believed that cognitive exercising increases the efficiency of connections between neurons, allowing the brain to function utilizing fewer resources. These biological processes may be responsible for preserved cognitive functioning and independence in the elderly, even when biological markers of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease are present.
The Importance of an Active Mind
Just how important is cognitive exercise and cognitive activity? A recent study by Wilson in the Journal of Neurology in November of 2007 showed that people who are cognitively inactive are 2.6 times more likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease than cognitively active people. The researchers also found that frequent cognitive activity was associated with reduced incidence of mild cognitive impairment and less-rapid decline in cognitive functions.
Finally, in addition to the preventive and protective role of continued mental activity, some of the tasks in the Touch of Heart™ program have an immediate effect on daily functioning, as they practice vocabulary and refresh computation skills used in everyday life. A Touch of Heart™ also provides opportunities to socialize and interact with others, reduce stress, and maintain a cognitively challenging lifestyle. Furthermore, A Touch of Heart™ enables the user to experience progress and a sense of accomplishment. In doing so, it promotes a positive sense of well-being – a positive emotional state that enhances cognitive stability as one ages.
Gain a New View
Call us today for a live demonstration of Touch of Heart™ Brain Fitness. See for yourself how our vibrant, beautiful assisted living and memory care communities – and our programs and services – can inspire you to feel differently about aging.