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Staying Sharp: Learn The Brain-Healthy Lifestyle With AARP and The Kensington Falls Church

At Kensington Falls Church, we’re passionate about helping our residents live their best lives. That starts with taking care of our most valuable asset: our brains.

That’s why we’re thrilled to invite you to an exciting event on July 18th, “Brain Health & Aging”, presented in partnership with AARP and highlighting their Staying Sharp program.

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.

By incorporating activities and practices within each pillar into your daily life, you can take control of your cognitive well-being and enjoy a happier, more fulfilling lifestyle in your later years.

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

What is the AARP Staying Sharp Program?

AARP Staying Sharp is a comprehensive program designed to empower individuals to take control of their brain health and optimize their cognitive well-being.

Developed through a collaboration between AARP and leading scientists and professionals passionate about brain health, this research-based platform focuses on six key pillars that support a healthy, vibrant mind.

1. Be Social

  • Maintain strong connections with friends, family, and your community
  • Engage in social activities, such as joining clubs, attending events, or volunteering
  • Nurture meaningful relationships and prioritize regular social interactions
  • Seek out opportunities to connect with others who share your interests and passions
  • Understand the link between social engagement and cognitive health, as research shows that strong social connections can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia

2. Eat right

  • Fuel your brain with a balanced, nutrient-rich diet that includes plenty of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats
  • Incorporate brain-boosting foods, such as fatty fish, leafy greens, nuts, and berries, which are rich in essential nutrients like omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and vitamin E
  • Stay hydrated by drinking plenty of water throughout the day, as even mild dehydration can impact cognitive function
  • Be mindful of portion sizes and limit your intake of processed foods, added sugars, and unhealthy fats
  • Take advantage of AARP Staying Sharp’s personalized nutrition recommendations, which are tailored to your unique needs and preferences

3. Manage stress

  • Develop effective strategies for coping with stress, such as deep breathing, meditation, or progressive muscle relaxation
  • Make time for activities that bring you joy and help you unwind, whether it’s reading, gardening, or listening to music
  • Practice mindfulness and stay present in the moment rather than dwelling on past regrets or future worries
  • Seek support from loved ones or mental health professionals when needed, as chronic stress can take a toll on brain health over time
  • Recognize the connection between stress management and cognitive function, as reducing stress can help improve memory, focus, and overall mental well-being

4. Ongoing exercise

  • Engage in regular physical activity, aiming for at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity exercise per week
  • Find activities that you enjoy and that challenge your body in different ways, such as walking, swimming, dancing, or strength training
  • Look for opportunities to incorporate movement into your daily routine, such as taking the stairs instead of the elevator or walking during your lunch break
  • Understand the many brain health benefits of exercise, including improved blood flow, increased production of brain-derived neurotrophic factor (BDNF), and enhanced cognitive function
  • Set realistic fitness goals and track your progress over time, celebrating your achievements along the way

5. Restorative sleep

  • Prioritize getting 7-9 hours of high-quality sleep each night, as sleep is essential for memory consolidation, emotional regulation, and a brain-healthy lifestyle
  • Establish a consistent sleep schedule and bedtime routine to help regulate your body’s internal clock
  • Create a sleep-friendly environment that is cool, dark, and quiet, and invest in a comfortable mattress and pillows
  • Avoid stimulating activities, such as watching television or using electronic devices, in the hours leading up to bedtime
  • Address any underlying sleep disorders, such as sleep apnea or insomnia, by working with a healthcare professional to develop an effective treatment plan

6. Engage your brain

  • Embrace lifelong learning and seek out opportunities to challenge and stimulate your mind
  • Learn a new skill, such as playing a musical instrument, speaking a foreign language, or mastering a complex hobby
  • Engage in mentally stimulating activities, such as solving puzzles, playing strategy games, or exploring new subjects through reading or online courses
  • Push yourself out of your comfort zone and try new experiences that encourage you to think in different ways
  • Understand the concept of cognitive reserve and how engaging in mentally stimulating activities throughout life can help build a resilient brain better equipped to withstand age-related changes.

The importance of a brain-healthy lifestyle

Keeping our minds sharp as we age is crucial for maintaining a high quality of life.

While some cognitive changes are normal as we age, the choices we make every day can have a big impact on our brain health.

By adopting habits that support our brains, we can minimize the possibility of cognitive decline, improve mental clarity, and boost overall well-being.

Studies have shown that the way we live significantly affects brain health at every stage of life.

One noteworthy study found that combining physical activity, mental stimulation, social engagement, and a healthy diet can meaningfully improve cognitive function, even in older adults at higher risk for dementia.

These findings emphasize the value of a comprehensive approach to brain health that addresses multiple lifestyle factors.

Take control of your brain health: RSVP today for our event

At The Kensington Falls Church, we’re committed to helping you live your best life, starting with prioritizing your brain health.

Join us on July 18th from 3:30 pm to 4:30 p.m. EDT for “Brain Health & Aging,” an engaging event that will empower you with the knowledge and tools you need to keep your mind sharp and reduce your risk of cognitive decline.

Take the first step towards a happier, more fulfilling future.

Contact The Kensington Falls Church to learn more about how we support a brain-healthy lifestyle for our residents.

We look forward to being part of your journey.

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