Developing Brain Reserves
The issue of brain health and older adults continues to be a hot topic at national conferences, in TV news magazines, on blogs and in print. This latest article, “Mental Reserves Keep Brain Agile” in the New York Times focuses on the activities necessary to promote brain health even in the face of brain diseases such as Alzheimer’s. The article features case studies of older adults whose autopsies revealed severe brain abnormalities, yet were active and mentally agile older adults in their day-to-day lives. The key for these individuals was building mental reserves and mental pathways in order to limit the amount of damage that brain disease could effect. While providing solutions and suggestions for building the brain reserves necessary to maintain brain health (even mentioning the public library as a place for stimulating brain activity), the article also focuses on the physical activity necessary to bolster activities such as puzzles and new language acquisition. The importance of physical activity to brain health is often absent from the typical brain health discussions.
These issues of brain reserves, brain activity, and physical activity have been discussed in several Libraries for the Future Lifelong Access Libraries trainings. Most recently, Dr. Paul Nussbaum presented on this topic at the Transforming Life after 50 Institute – a product of the partnership between the California State Library, the California Library Association, and Libraries for the Future. The Institute was one element of the larger Transforming Life after 50 Initiative which was launched this summer. Links to video clips and resources from the Institute will be available soon and posted on this blog –stay tuned.