“A popular misconception of brain development is that there is a specific period of development that levels off as people age. Your brain doesn’t know how old you are nor does it care,” says Emeritus Senior Living’s Paul Nussbaum, PhD, author of Save Your Brain and Brain Health Lifestyle.
To help residents stay active, Nussbaum has developed the research-based Brain Health Lifestyle program, which is designed not only to slow the loss of brain cells due to aging but also to encourage the growth of new brain cells by targeting the social, mental, nutritional, spiritual and physical aspects of residents’ lives. In 2008, a pilot study of the program was introduced at Emeritus’ Summerville at Farm Pond in Framingham, Mass. Encouraged by the increase in short-term memory experienced by the 12 participants, the program was rolled out to other Emeritus communities.
Emeritus at Ocoee recently implemented the Brain Health Lifestyle program at its Central Florida assisted living and memory care community. The carefully constructed program offers participating residents three brain health activities each day. They also experience four key areas of brain health at least five times a week and attend monthly classes on keeping the brain healthy and active. Computer classes, senior improvisation and breathing exercises are some of the most popular program activities, Executive Director Holly Easterling says. Spanish classes that will begin in May are eagerly anticipated.