October 6, 2017 by
The online world presents us with instantaneous answers to almost any question we’re able to imagine, learning opportunities beyond what we could have dreamed of a generation before, socialization enhancement, and much more. Among the most enjoyable web developments for those of us in the senior care industry has been brain training applications – the computerized brain games and puzzles that promote enhanced cognitive functioning. But how well do they actually succeed?
AARP has recently been studying these brain games, sharing results in a recent report, Engage Your Brain. Even though further research is needed to better comprehend the long-term benefit of brain-stimulating exercises, what we can say for certain is that neuron connections can be reinforced through learning, bringing about the brain’s ability to transform structure, function, and chemistry, a concept known as brain plasticity. This capability stays in place while the mind ages.
In one study, the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE), seniors’ cognitive functioning as well as memory revealed a fantastic improvement of close to 63% when utilizing online cognitive training programs. Additionally, elders who took part in the research exhibited a 48% less chance of causing car accidents, and could more efficiently manage such day-to-day responsibilities as money management, taking prescriptions, and more.
Dr. Michael Merzenich, co-founder of Posit Science (creators of the Brain HQ program), has managed a number of scientific trials to better identify the impact of specific online brain strengthening applications, specifically, whether cognitive decline can be minimized or slowed. Final results suggested a marked improvement in memory, with participants’ memory recall the same as those ten years their junior. In contrast, activities like crossword puzzles did not demonstrate a direct effect on cognitive decline, with the elderly who routinely engage in crossword puzzles still trailing young people in their degree of functioning. Even so, when compared to other seniors who didn’t work on crossword puzzles, functioning does appear a little enhanced. Dr. Merzenich clarifies it as, “Crossword puzzles might improve your cognitive function, but it’s equally likely that having good cognitive function encourages you to do crossword puzzles.” Dr. Merzenich discusses his studies in more depth in this TED Talk.
It is important for individuals to adequately investigate Internet-based programs that guarantee to boost a senior’s memory or cognitive functioning level, since there have been some companies recently who’ve been shown to falsely advertise such promises.
At Home Independent Living in Syracuse provides opportunities for seniors to maximize cognitive functioning through mentally stimulating games, reminiscing, socialization and much more. Contact us for in-home suggestions for your client or senior loved one!