Along with keeping our bodies fit, it is important to take steps to sustain brain health and fitness. Brain Health refers to one’s ability to learn, remember, organize, focus and maintain an active mind. In 2016 the Baltimore County Department of Aging’s initiative, Brain Matters, will educate older adults about successful aging and brain health. Resources and activities will be offered to enhance brain function, provide strategies to care for those facing dementia or mental health illnesses, identify possible risk factors and improve the quality of life for older adults. Each month there will be a focus on different aspects of brain health.
Complete the second quarter "Your Emotions and Your Brain" evaluation and be entered to win a $25 gift certificate from Ukazoo Books.
The first quarter evaluation results are as follows:
- 83.5 percent of respondents were aware of the Brain Matters initiative (89 percent heard through the senior centers, 11 percent from the Senior Digest magazine and seven percent saw the brochure)
- 42 percent of respondents said they had attended a program(s) about brain health - with the majority averaging two programs
- 72 percent of respondents had read something about improving brain health - an average of two articles
- 66 percent said they took action to improve their own brain health, with 40 percent starting puzzles, 30 percent reading, 29 percent playing brain games, 26 percent exercising more and 24 percent changing their diet
- 58 percent said their understanding of brain diseases like Alzheimer's, Parkinson's and Dementia has increased as a result of the Brain Matters initiative
- 71 percent had a better understanding of how smoking impacts brain health, 70 percent know more about how heart disease impacts brain health and 68 percent increased their awareness of medication interactions
- In the future, 51 percent of respondents planned to attend a community-based education program, 66 percent planned to attend a senior center program and 28 percent thought they would attend the Caregivers Conference
July Programs - Wide Awake Brain
Baltimore County Senior Centers are sponsoring many programs on topics related to Brain Matters. For July, we look at the importance of wakefulness on brain functioning. A number of Baltimore County senior centers are offering special activities intended to help you have fun and improve your brain functioning. Refer to the Brain Matters Brochure (PDF) for more details on upcoming programs.
Join us on Wednesday, July 13, at 7 p.m., for Wide Awake Brain, presented by Adam P. Spira, Ph.D., Associate Professor, Department of Mental Health, Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. Learn how your sleep patterns affect your brain health. The presentation will be held at the Essex Public Library, 1110 Eastern Boulevard, Essex, Maryland, 21221.
Risk Factor - Lack of Sleep
We are also planning programs for our brain health risk factor of the month – for July, Lack of Sleep.
The Groggy Truth: Medications and Your Brain
Join University of Maryland St. Joseph Medical Center to learn how medications affect your brain and your sleep. Learn about interventions and treatment so that you sleep better and improve brain performance.
Below are some resources for those who are interested in more information and relevant research on Brain Matters.
Wide Awake Brain
- Time – This Is What Happens To Your Brain On No Sleep
- BrainFacts.org – Brain Activity During Sleep
- The Huffington Post – 5 Amazing Things Your Brain Does While You Sleep
- Scientific American – Why Your Brain Needs More Downtime
- BrainFacts.org – Sleep Disorders
- Model Systems Knowledge Translation Center – Sleep and Traumatic Brain Injury
August Programs – Plan Ahead!
Find out what Brain Matters Programs (PDF) are coming in August.
Revised July 11, 2016