Brain health, or brain fitness, has become a hot topic among professionals working with older adults. Recent research seems to support the idea that brain fitness programs can benefit us–but how effective are the available programs, and can they work among the older adult population? This article provides insight on the topic along with findings from a study of one brain fitness program designed for older adults.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5 million Americans over the age of 65, or one in 8.5 older adults, have Alzheimer’s disease (AD) or other dementias. AD is the fifth leading cause of death in Americans aged 65 and older. As the baby boomer generation ages, the number of older adults with AD and other dementias is expected to increase substantially. Medical advances and improved social and environmental conditions have resulted in a greater number of Americans living into their 80s and 90s. This greater longevity is likely to result in significant increases in the number of individuals with the disease since the risk of AD increases with age; the number of people with AD doubles for every 5.5 year interval after the age of 65.