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Brain Fitness for Seniors a National Health Priority

Mar 1, 2014 9:09:00 AM

brain fitness for seniorsAlzheimer’s effects more than 5 million individuals in the United States, and medical experts estimate that this number will increase to 16 million by the year 2050. As more seniors are affected, there has been an increased demand for research into the cause, treatment, and prevention of this and other dementia-type disease.

This demand has finally been met with national recognition.

Thanks to the urging of the Alzheimer’s Association and Congress, President Obama signed into law a funding bill that will provide a $122 million increase for Alzheimer’s research, education, outreach, and caregiver support. At the urging of the 600,000 advocate strong Alzheimer’s Association, this bill will help provide funding for the continued implementation of the National Plan to Address Alzheimer’s Disease.

How Does This Affect You and Your Loved Ones?

Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States. 1 in 3 seniors die from Alzheimer’s or another dementia.

Some pretty scary statistics— statistics that do something to explain the overwhelming amount of care provided by family caregivers. In 2012, 15.4 million caregivers provided more than 17.5 billion hours of unpaid care, which was estimated to equal $216 billion. Last year, care of patients with Alzheimer’s will have cost the United States $203 billion dollars, and is expected to increase to $1.2 trillion by the year 2050.

Simply put, Alzheimer’s effects you and your loved ones in many ways, some unseen or unheard, others much more prescient and discernable. As this disease affects more individuals, costs will go up for both care and research. With the bill passed providing an increase in funding now, it is hoped to be an investment that will yield significant results by finding ways to slow the disease, prevent it, and even cure it in the future.

As of now, there is no known cure, or any known ways to prevent the onset of Alzheimer’s or other dementias, but as we learn more about these diseases, it has been found that brain fitness for seniors is paramount to their longevity and quality of life.

What is Brain Fitness for Seniors?

Much like we exercise our bodies to help keep ourselves healthy, even in small ways by simply staying active and involved, doing the same with your brain has been found to have a lasting impact, and can help to strengthen areas that oftentimes are the most debilitated by Alzheimer’s and other dementias.

As we train our bodies by creating and following regular routines, we learn to test our limits and push our own boundaries. The same can be said for brain fitness for seniors. Taking the time to learn or create routines that help maintain focus and memory by finding games and challenges which are designed to not just maintain, but increase these important mental faculties, works in much the same way as lifting weights. Regular, routine exercise for your brain will help strengthen it, helping to give your loved ones a quality of life that could have so easily, and quickly, diminished.

Good Habits Now Mean a Stronger Mind Later

Along with regular “exercise,” brain fitness for seniors also means eating healthy, drinking plenty of water, and getting a good night’s rest as often as possible. All of these elements combined won’t just help you take care of your loved ones, it will help them take care of themselves.

The Alzheimer’s Association, Congress, and the President are taking bold steps to solve the riddle of Alzheimer’s by seeking increased funding now, so that in the future, many of our loved ones won’t have to suffer the heartbreaking deterioration caused by dementia. By encouraging exercise, healthy eating and sleeping habits, and a brain workout regimen, you can help your loved ones now, as well. 

Bryan Reynolds

Written by: Bryan Reynolds

Bryan Reynolds is the Vice President of Marketing and Public Relations for Episcopal Retirement Services (ERS). Bryan is responsible for developing and implementing ERS' digital marketing strategy, and overseeing the website, social media outlets, audio and video content and online advertising. After originally attending The Ohio State University, he graduated from the College-Conservatory of Music at the University of Cincinnati, where he earned a Bachelor of fine arts focused on electronic media. Bryan loves to share his passion for technology by assisting older adults with their computer and mobile devices. He has taught several classes within ERS communities as well as at the Osher Lifelong Learning Institute run by the University of Cincinnati. He also participates on the Technology Team at ERS to help provide direction. Bryan and his wife Krista currently reside in Lebanon, Ohio with their 5 children.

Topics: Memory Support, alzheimer's and dementia, mental wellness, Alzheimer's, brain fitness

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