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AARP: Resolve to Get Brain Healthy

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The AR AARP wants folks to get brain healthy this year, and to help they've put some specially designed brain games on their website. VISUALS From AARP website.
The AR AARP wants folks to get brain healthy this year, and to help they've put some specially designed brain games on their website. VISUALS From AARP website.
December 30, 2013

LITTLE ROCK, Ark. - AARP is encouraging older people to get brain healthy in the new year. Lots of people make resolutions to exercise, but it turns out that that can apply to the muscle between our ears, too. According to Lou Tobian, associate state director for education and outreach with AARP's state office, experts used to mistakenly think our brains were fixed when we became adults.

"But it turns out that our brains are able to grow," Tobian said. "Your brain likes to have fun. It likes to be engaged. It likes to be challenged. It likes new things. It likes people."

Tobian said AARP worked with a prominent neuropsychologist to design a brain health program, which includes eating smart, being fit, socializing, stressing less, and exercising the brain. As part of that last goal AARP has put a set of brain games on its website. More at the brain health section of the health page of the AARP website.

Tobian said the games are clinically proven to work: increase focus, boost thinking speed, improve memory and help with things such as remembering names. And he said they're addicting. Tobian's been playing one that boosts navigation abilities by testing your ability to get around on a subway in a strange town.

"You get hooked because you see your brain is getting better at this game," he said. "And if you're getting better at that game, then you're also getting better at your ability to navigate streets and subways."

He said that much of what the doctors recommend for brain health is the same as what they recommend for physical health. On top of that, he added, they recommend staying mentally engaged and challenged with things such as learning a new language or a musical instrument, among a lot of other options.

"Explore and change and have fun. Joining a bridge club, or volunteering to tutor elementary school students, or maintaining a circle of close friendships," are among his recommendations.


Dan Heyman, Public News Service - AR