Brain Health and Aging, In Collaboration with AARP
Thursday, July 18th 3:30pm-4:30pm via Zoom. Click HERE to Register!
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Brain Health and Aging, In Collaboration with AARP
Thursday, July 18th 3:30pm-4:30pm via Zoom. Click HERE to Register!
Open Mobile Menu
brain connectivity

Join Us for AARP: Staying Sharp and Learn Habits for Lifelong Brain Health

Mark your calendar for an exciting upcoming event with The Kensington Reston.

Join us on July 18th from 3:30 to 4:30 p.m. EDT as we host Brain Health & Aging” in partnership with AARP. This program will highlight AARP’s Staying Sharp program and the importance of maintaining cognitive function.

Rachel Lazarus, PhD, will discuss Staying Sharp, a program from AARP that offers science-based resources related to the six pillars of brain health and other aspects of cognitive aging. The pillars of brain health are based on scientific research that shows a healthy lifestyle protects the brain. Staying Sharp helps you develop meaningful and lasting brain-healthy practices.

Lindsay Chura, PhD, will introduce you to AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), a collective created by AARP to provide trusted information about how to support brain health. A governance committee of approximately a dozen experts from around the world comprises the hub, and it leads issue specialists in examining priority areas such as physical exercise, cognitively stimulating activity, mental well-being, diet, sleep, stress, social engagement, and supplements.

The interactive session will cover the latest research insights on brain health and share various useful techniques you can incorporate into your daily life to support memory and focus.

Our promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own.

Why brain health matters

Maintaining a healthy brain is crucial to aging well and enjoying a high quality of life in your senior years.

Like the rest of your body, your brain changes as you age. While some degree of cognitive decline is normal during aging, more significant memory loss and confusion could be early signs of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.

The good news is, regardless of your age, there are proactive steps you can take to keep your mind sharp and lower your risk for cognitive impairment.

Research shows that leading a brain-healthy lifestyle can help slow age-related mental decline and may even reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

So what exactly is a “brain-healthy lifestyle”? Here are some of the key pillars.

Regular exercise

Physical activity isn’t just good for your body; it benefits your brain, too!

Benefits of exercise include:

  • Increased blood flow to the brain nourishes brain cells with oxygen and nutrients
  • Stimulates the release of beneficial brain chemicals and the growth of new cells
  • Improves memory, attention, processing speed, and executive function as you age

Aim to get at least 150 minutes per week of moderate aerobic exercise, such as brisk walking.

Strength training and activities that challenge balance and coordination, such as yoga or tai chi, also benefit the brain.

The key is choosing activities you enjoy and sticking with them long-term.

Mental stimulation

The saying “use it or lose it” certainly holds for the brain. Engaging in mentally stimulating activities can help preserve cognitive abilities and memory.

Think of it as a gym session for your mind! Researchers believe that mentally demanding activities may protect the brain by establishing a “cognitive reserve” that enables the brain to adapt and operate effectively, even if some brain cells are damaged or die.

Great ways to stimulate your mind include learning a new skill or hobby, playing strategy games, doing puzzles, reading, and engaging in lively discussions.

Even small actions like taking an alternate route when driving or brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand can spur your brain to make new connections.

The more you challenge your brain, the more neural pathways you form, and the better equipped you are to handle mental decline.

Social connection

Humans are naturally social creatures, and positive social interaction is vital for maintaining brain health.

Having an active social life can lower your risk of dementia, depression, and an earlier death.

Regularly spending time with others helps ward off stress and depression, provides mental stimulation, and promotes a sense of safety, belonging, and purpose—all of which are important for brain health.

Make an effort to connect face-to-face with loved ones, join a club or social group, volunteer in your community, or consider moving to a senior living community if you live alone.

It’s also a great idea to combine socializing with exercise, such as walking with a friend or taking a group fitness class.

Even if you’re introverted, brief social interactions like chatting with the cashier at the grocery store can boost your spirits and brain health.

A nourishing diet

You are what you eat—and that includes your brain!

A diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats is good for physical and mental health.

The Mediterranean and MIND diets, which emphasize these healthy foods, fish, nuts, and olive oil, have been linked to better brain function and lower dementia risk.

Some of the best brain-nourishing nutrients include:

  • Omega-3 fatty acids from fish, flaxseed, and walnuts
  • Flavonoids and polyphenols from berries, tea, and dark chocolate
  • Vitamin E from nuts, seeds, and vegetable oils
  • B vitamins from leafy greens and legumes

At the same time, limit foods that can negatively affect brain health, such as red meat, butter, cheese, pastries, and sweets. Replace these foods with healthier options whenever possible.

Quality sleep

Getting consistent, high-quality sleep is one of the best things you can do for your brain. That’s why it’s so important for caregivers to get the proper sleep to care for themselves and their loved ones.

While you sleep, your brain is busy processing the day’s events, making connections between memories, and clearing out toxins.

Sleep deprivation impairs your ability to think, problem-solve, and process emotions. It also increases your risk for depression and dementia.

Tips for optimal sleep

  • Aim for 7-9 hours per night
  • Stick to a regular sleep schedule
  • Create a relaxing bedtime routine
  • Keep your bedroom quiet, dark, and cool
  • Limit daytime napping
  • Avoid caffeine, alcohol, and electronics close to bedtime, as they can interfere with sleep

Stress management

Chronic stress takes a toll on the brain, leading to shrinkage in memory-related areas and increasing risk for dementia.

However, simple stress management techniques can minimize its harmful effects. Regular exercise is one of the best stress-busters. Calming practices like deep breathing, meditation, and yoga also promote relaxation.

Make time to unwind each day with an activity you enjoy: spending time in nature, playing with a pet, listening to music, or reading a good book.

Don’t hesitate to ask for help if stress is getting the best of you. Speaking with a supportive friend or counselor can make a big difference.

Join us to discover the secrets to lifelong brain health

The Kensington Reston is devoted to educating residents and families on the most up-to-date brain, physical, and mental health research.  

We look forward to seeing you on July 18th to learn more about enhancing your brain health with AARP’s Staying Sharp program.

This fun, informative event is a wonderful opportunity to socialize and learn new practices to keep your mind thriving for years. Let’s optimize our brain health together!

For more information about our events or how our memory care program can help you and your loved ones, contact The Kensington Reston today.

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