Brain Builders helps stem cognitive decline

Brain Builders helps stem cognitive decline

Brain Builders Club, a project of the Jewish Family & Children’s Service, has released a series of statistics it says demonstrates that the project is helping to stem cognitive decline in local seniors.
The program keeps brains actively engaged by combining creative writing, physical activity such as Tai Chi, and computer skills in an eight-week series to enhance cognitive ability.

Since the Brain Builders’s inception in 2009:
•  71 percent of participants have shown an improvement in mental status;
•  36 percent have shown an improvement in depression symptoms;
•  38 percent have shown an improvement in anxiety symptoms;
•  64 percent have shown an improvement in quality of life indicators; and
• 81 percent have reported improved functioning in one or more areas such as computer skills, creative/artistic skills, physical activity and wellness.
“Results thus far show that older adults can do something to not only improve their cognitive function, but their mood and outlook as well,” said Ellie Eisenstat, Brain Builders Club program coordinator, said in a prepared statement. “Participants can gain so much from these sessions. They learn new skills and feel good about their accomplishments.”
Participants have also described their experience with Brain Builders as invigorating, welcoming and valuable.
“I am reaching out to know people I never thought I’d be interested in knowing. My mood is more confident, and [I] feel like I can handle complex situations better,” one participant said.
The next session of Brain Builders Club begins in January. Eligible participants must be 65 to 85 years of age, have transportation to Squirrel Hill twice a week, moderate physical ability and the ability to commit to the full eight-week program.
Contact Eisenstat at (412) 904-5960 for more information.