Brain Health Week #4: Wellness and Social Interaction
The brain is stimulated through purposeful activities such as social interaction, spiritual well-being, nutrition, mental stimulation, and physical exercise. These activities improve cognition and strengthen neuro-synaptic connections (talk between neurons) and are incorporated into Meaningful Moments® programming. We covered the importance of nutrition and hydration as it relies on brain health over the last couple of weeks. This week we want to highlight the benefits of being socially active and mental stimulation.
Studies have shown that social interactions and relationships can slow the progression of dementia and cognitive impairment. A brain that does not receive social interactions becomes passive; it’s the “use it or lose it” theory. Interactions with people force you to think about your responses, thus stimulating the brain. Beyond cognitive stimulation of the brain, when you feel connected to others and a part of a community, the body reduces the production of stress chemicals which is a known contributor to dementia. By reducing stress, you can also reduce unwanted behaviors. Social interaction is achieved at JEA throughout the month with planned events and parties, gatherings, intergenerational programs, and community engagement.
Mental stimulation is imperative for a healthy brain. Stimulated brains build up brain reserve, the building of brain cells and connections. Brain reserves are built through novel and complex thinking. In other words, we need to keep our brains active with new, challenging, and stimulating activities. JEA’s Meaningful Moments program offers music and reminiscing, cognitive games, educational field trips, multi-sensory stimulation, technology, creative outlets, and independent engagement kits, all in an effort to build brain reserve and slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease.
We know there is no prevention and no cure for Alzheimer’s disease. By implementing the Meaningful Moments programming into our resident’s daily lives, we strive to slow the progression and preserve their quality of life.
For our final week of brain health and wellness week, we will be focusing on purposeful programming and the benefits of scheduled and nonscheduled actives in the lives of those with Alzheimer’s disease.