Brain Awareness Week
Mark your calendars – March 14 – 20 is Brain Awareness Week. , According to The Dana Foundation, Brain Awareness Week “is the global campaign to increase public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research.”
Many of the conditions benefiting from further research continue to ail our elderly population. Alzheimers and Parkinson’s disease both deal with complications related to the brain – and more analysis is needed to better combat and minimize their negative effects.
Our brain is our connection to the world around us – our memory, mind, and ability to learn how to shape the foundations of society and our perception of life itself. So just how important is it to better understand its functions as we age?
Very. Alzheimers affects five million Americans, while Parkinson’s takes its toll on one million, and the occurrence of both increases in rate as we age. Finding treatments to halt or reverse neurodegenerative diseases is the ultimate goal of much brain research. Identifying protective genes or lifestyle factors that contribute to these problems gives us a much greater chance at treatment options, and potentially even a cure.
You may be asking how we can better protect our brain while we age. The Dana Foundation states, “Experts estimate that just 30 percent of aging is genetically programmed. The rest depends on the cumulative impact of inner and outer environments — factors we can largely control.” – This means a great deal of our potential is in our own hands.
To help improve or positively impact our brain health here are a few things to consider:
- Eating healthy foods and staying active are clear, cumulative ways to keep your entire body (brain included) in a better shape – but it’s just as important to stay mentally active and connected.
- Spending time interacting with our loved ones is a great way to maintain cognitive edge, as is keeping mentally engaged: “Learning forms new connections between neurons at any age, and keeps brain chemicals flowing. Richer neuron networks provide a backup, or “cognitive reserve,” to preserve brain function longer despite damage by stroke or disease.
Exploring unfamiliar ground — for example, learning a foreign language or musical instrument — can be especially beneficial.
At PLC, we have a mindset that allows for individual, personalized care needs – whatever our resident’s mental state may be. For more information, visit our website.