It's never too late to learn and practice 'neurobics'

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yourself standing in a room looking around for a revelation that would remind you why you walked into the room in the first place?

Do you find yourself giving your phone a concentrated death stare because you can't remember whom you were going to call, hoping if you stare really hard at your phone the mystery name will magically appear?

Practicing good health habits like staying physically active and eating well helps with the aging process, but what about help with those senior moments, when you say to yourself "I'm really starting to lose it"?

Now that schools are back in session, let's learn techniques and tactics that will hold off and possibly stop those senior moments.

Lesson No. 1: New scientific research has proven that keeping an aging mind active is essential to staying cognitively alert and staving off dementia diseases such as Alzheimer's.

It was believed that an aging brain was not capable of reprogramming old brain cells or regenerating new brain cells.

Now it is understood that, just as your body responds to a physically active fitness routine, your brain also benefits from a fitness program.

Lesson No. 2: Ever heard the term neurobics? Neurobics is aerobics for your brain in the form of mental exercises such as crossword puzzles and brain teasers. Neurobics can stimulate growth in brain cells and create new neural pathways. Cognitive decline can be seriously halted with daily neurobics exercise.

Lesson No. 3: Starting a brain fitness program is easy. Unlike physical fitness routines, which might require special clothing or equipment and travel time, accomplishing a brain fitness routine only requires sitting in your comfy chair with the daily newspaper. Working on the crossword puzzle, Jumble or Sudoku is a great way to stimulate your brain cells.

If you have internet access, you can find many free brain game websites that offer different levels of difficulty. Check out www.stayingsharp.aarp.org for science-based activities and challenges and www.merriam-webster.com/word-games for word games, quizzes and a weekly challenge.

Lesson No. 4: Harvard Medical School suggests that positive brain benefits can be accomplished by changing everyday tasks such as brushing your teeth or wiping down countertops with your non-dominant hand or trying small (safe) tasks like buttoning your shirt with your eyes closed.

Staying curious and committed to lifelong learning will not only assist your aging brain but will keep you energized and engaged.

Attend plays and lectures. Register for free classes offered at your local library or university. Keep yourself organized by using planners, calendars and address books.

Begin your neurobics training today to stimulate your brain cells and reverse cognitive decline.

Abby Boylston is the community liaison for ComForCare Home Care. aboylston@comforcare.com

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