Want to Keep The Mind Sharp? ElderBranch Explores Brain Training

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The UCLA Longevity Center offers a variety of community-based programs to improve memory functioning. ElderBranch recently spoke with the Center to further explore the concept of brain training.

ElderBranch

ElderBranch

For those who have received a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, we hope to slow the progression through brain training.

Some play Sudoku and some read voraciously to keep their minds sharp. In fact, there are many tricks to maintaining good mental health as one ages.

The UCLA Longevity Center has long been at the forefront of researching and implementing the best strategies for helping people live longer and better. Over the years the focus at the Center has expanded from research on the identification of Alzheimer’s disease to prevention of memory loss and community-based programs to improve memory functioning.

ElderBranch recently spoke to Dr. Gary Small, Professor of Psychiatry and Aging at UCLA, Dr. Karen Miller, Associate Clinical Professor and Neuropsychologist at UCLA Medical Center, and other key individuals at the UCLA Longevity Center to learn about the Center’s activities and brain training.

Understanding Brain Training and Its Benefits

Brain training refers to the belief that cognitive function can be maintained or improved by exercising, or “training”, the brain.

According to Dr. Miller, it’s never too early to begin brain training. Dr. Miller explains, “The goals of these treatments are to improve quality of life and improve functional performance. For those who have received a diagnosis of mild cognitive impairment (MCI) or dementia, we hope to slow the progression through brain training.”

Other benefits that Dr. Miller highlights include: improving memory, having more control over memory abilities and increasing socialization.

Programs Offered at the UCLA Longevity Center

The UCLA Longevity Center has built an excellent reputation in geriatric care. The U.S. News and World Report has named UCLA's geriatrics program one of the top two in America for the past 20 years. The Center services about 1,200 people annually through their programs.

The center offers a variety of programs to service the varying needs of the community. Memory Training is a 4-week memory techniques program to address common memory complaints associated with age. Brain Boot Camp is a 3-hour intensive program focused on learning advanced memory techniques and information about aging and memory. Memory Fitness is a 12-session program across a 2 month time period aimed for those with mild cognitive impairment. Finally, Memory Care is a weekly, on-going program where participants study memory training and mind-body-connection.

Brain Boot Camp is targeted at individuals of any age, whereas older adults tend to participate in the other three programs (Memory Training, Memory Fitness, and Memory Care).

Brain training can begin at any age. Simple exercises and concentration have proven to be effective in the prevention and treatment of memory disorders. For individuals and families seeking further assistance, institutions such as the Longevity Center can be of tremendous help.

About ElderBranch

ElderBranch is an online information portal that helps people find and evaluate long-term care providers. ElderBranch’s mission is to support users in making the best decision possible for themselves and their loved ones.

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Anila Sitaram Venkat
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