February 20

Brain Basics for Better Memory

Irving’s Story

Last week we talked about neuroplasticity and the ability of the brain to make new connections when we challenge our “grey cells”, as Hercule Poirot would say.  Irving Ruff’s story is a case in point:

When Irving first moved to a New Perspective assisted living community following two knee surgeries, his general health and memory were showing signs of decline.  An army veteran and former IBM engineer who worked on the computer guidance systems that NASA used in the Apollo space program, Irving was still interested in computers at the age of eighty—and it was the Dakim interactive computer technology available at New Perspective that first attracted him.

Designed specifically to challenge the memory and support cognitive function, Dakim’s effectiveness is backed by research conducted at UCLA. Once logged on, Dakim ‘recognizes’ the user, allowing him or her to increase the difficulty levels, and provide a continual mental challenge.  Irving spends regular time at the Dakim station, getting in about five sessions a week.  “It has helped me to manage my use of my memory,” he noted.

Challenging his brain—as well as good meals with new friends, regular use of the stationary bike in the wellness center and water aerobics in the therapy pool—brought new benefits to Irving.  Several months after moving to the community, he returned to his doctor for a check-up and another memory evaluation. Instead of showing continual decline, his doctor was surprised to discover that Irving’s memory had stabilized, even improved, and encouraged him to keep working on DAKIM —and everything else he was doing.  In fact, he eventually moved from assisted to independent living!


So here are this week’s “Brain Basics” for better memory:

  • Give your brain a workout!

Add to that:

  • As much exercise as you can manage
  • Good food
  • Social time with friends and relatives you enjoy

It doesn’t get more basic than that!

Next post:  Walking to Wake up Your Brain

(Next month is National Nutrition Month, and we will focus on food and the brain, so stay tuned!)

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