A “brain gym” at the University of California Los Angeles Medical Center is helping those with memory impairment as well as their loved ones and caregivers to help strengthen memory and brain functioning.
Through the facility, housed in UCLA’s Longevity Center, people suffering from Alzheimer’s disease and other memory impairment can give their brains a “work out,” that has been shown to help not only those suffering from memory loss, but those who care for them, according to a Kaiser Health News article on the program.
“In addition to giving those with memory loss techniques to improve recall, the program also helps the caregivers better understand the disease and provides them with a place to connect with others facing similar challenges,” Kaiser Health News explains.
The “gym” offers physical outlets such as Tai Chi and dance, as well as memory exercises such as recall techniques. For caregivers, there are informal support groups attended by spouses and loved ones.
The classes work based on research and recent findings on memory impairment, with the center being led by psychiatry professor Gary Small.
Prof. Small told Kaiser Health News that he and others are researching how to strengthen both memory and brain functioning.
“In one study, they found that doing physical and mental exercise, managing stress, and eating healthy can improve cognitive abilities,” Kaiser writes. “Retaining memory, he said, is about much more than recalling daily activities.”
“It is really a sense of having control of in your life,” he told the publication. “Your memory defines who you are.”
Written by Elizabeth Ecker