2018-07-01 / Insight

‘BrainFit’ coming

Stonegate to offer free program to enhance mental sharpness
BY NICHOLAS PUGLIESE
810-452-2601 • npugliese@mihomepaper.com

LAPEER — Just as important as physical exercise when it comes to long-term health, mental exercise is critical to reduce the likelihood of developing Alzheimer’s disease.

Starting Wednesday, July 4 at 1 p.m., Stonegate Health Campus is inviting members of the public to attend a new, free-of-charge program called “BrainFit,” which aims to provide important mental sharpness skills to attendees of all ages.

The course is presented in five sections each Wednesday in July as well as Aug. 1, and according to BrainFit teacher and Stonegate Life Enrichment Director Brittani Price, the classes each cover a different aspect of mental fitness, including education, nutrition, sleep, exercise and stress.

Price said members of the community are welcome, and it is not required to be a resident of Stonegate or a relative of a resident. “The first section goes over education, where we’ll talk about leisure activities and tools to increase memory,” said Price. “After that, the next one is nutrition, where we’ll talk about the effects diet have on the mind.” Price said eliminating red meats from one’s diet reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s disease by 53 percent, and limiting red meat consumption will still reduce risk by 30 percent.

According to Stonegate Community Service Specialist Jessica Sorgatz, the value of the classes transcends age, and even young people can benefit from the lessons learned in order to reduce their risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. “A lot of (people) that end up in our programs are getting younger, hopefully things like this class can help,” she said. “It’s all about creating awareness of what you can do in life now to reduce risk later.” Price said that regardless of age, it’s always beneficial to stay informed. “Dementia doesn’t stop at any age,” she said. “We’re trying to teach the younger generations daily rhythms and activities to promote memory care.”

Other topics covered in the five-week course, which was endorsed by Dr. John Arden, recently-retired director of Training for Mental Health for Northern California, include the effects of sleep and stress on the mind. “It’s so important to get a good night’s sleep and reduce stress and reduce anxiety and depression,” said Price. “It’s really about changing your mindset about stress.”

Attendees will also receive raffle tickets that will allow them to enter to win a prize for participation, said Price. Each course will award participants one raffle ticket, and additional tickets can be earned by completing “homework” assignments that include puzzles and brain games such as word searches and crossword puzzles. The raffle basket features dozens of items themed around mental fitness including exercise equipment, wine, dark chocolate and more. “It’s a huge basket,” said Sorgatz.

Price said that the biggest way to keep the mind active is simply to challenge it. “Learning new activities to stimulate your brain is huge, doing things differently to challenge your brain,” she said. “Even just trying to write with your left (or right) hand.”

Courses begin at 1 p.m. on Wednesday, July 4 and are held at the Stonegate Health Campus at 2525 DeMille Blvd. in Lapeer. For more information, call 810-245-9300.

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