We’re fighting to preserve precious memories. The way we care makes a difference in our community and our research informs healthcare around the world.
Browse this site to arm yourself with information on aging well. Come back often for new tips from Baycrest experts.
verb. /Renew your spirit; learn, grow and connect with others/
You don’t have to stop learning as you age. “Not only can learning be a lot of fun, it’s also an important part of maintaining your brain health,” says Dr. Angela Troyer, Program Director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health at Baycrest. Challenging yourself to learn new things can help you maintain cognitive function for longer. Adults who acquire new skills perform better on memory tests than adults who engage in more passive activities.
If you’ve ever wanted to take a cooking class, pick up an instrument or become an artist – now is the time. Your brain will thank you later.
Being socially engaged is beneficial for brain health. Studies indicate people who are more satisfied with their interactions with others are at lower risk of dementia.
You can connect to others by:
These tips come from Living with Mild Cognitive Impairment: A Guide to Maximizing Brain Health and Reducing Risk of Dementia, written by Baycrest colleagues Dr. Nicole Anderson, Dr. Kelly Murphy and Dr. Angela Troyer.
Art awakens memories, encourages dialogue and inspires the sharing of ideas – whether you’re creating a piece of art or simply appreciating a painting on the wall.
For some people with Alzheimer’s disease, memories from long ago may remain intact even though recent conversations and events are forgotten. At Baycrest, we explore how art can not only engage older adults with their environment, but how interacting with and creating art can contribute to a positive sense of self. For those with memory loss, colourful sculptures of fish, birds and flowers in a courtyard have been designed to spark memories of childhood.
We know that creative activities benefit your cognitive function and provide a cathartic release of emotion. Incorporate art into your lifestyle by visiting an art gallery or picking up a paintbrush. You’ll find more satisfaction in life and enjoy the brain benefits for years to come.
verb. /Recollect, preserve; sharpen your mind/
A certain amount of stress can boost work performance, as some of us work well under pressure. You may even feel an increased sense of satisfaction while under stress because you feel challenged and useful. But too high levels of stress can be detrimental to your health, happiness and even your memory.
You often can’t remove stressors from your life, but you can take control of how you cope.
Wondering if memory changes are a normal part of aging, or something more? Baycrest’s memory experts have developed a free online brain health assessment that will help those ages 50 to 79 put worries about memory changes to rest.
The 20-minute assessment examines cognitive performance and helps direct those with cause for concern to see a doctor. “If it turns out that you do have a significant problem with your memory, then early diagnosis along with science-based education and interventions will help you maintain your cognitive health and independence for as long as possible, and enable you and your family to plan for the care and support you’ll need in future,” said Dr. Angela Troyer, program director of Neuropsychology and Cognitive Health at Baycrest, and a lead member of the team that developed the online test.
Tens of thousands have taken the test and the vast majority (98 per cent) have scored in the normal, healthy range of brain functioning. Take the test at www.cogniciti.com.
You may have heard the term ‘Big Data.’ In the age of information, data is everywhere, but how can we make sense of it all?
Dr. Stephen Strother and his colleagues at Baycrest, in collaboration with the Ontario Brain Institute, are building one of the world’s largest brain research databases. Brain-CODE will provide researchers with access to massive amounts of neurological data, offering potential to discover links between different brain conditions. It will also speed up the pre-clinical phase of testing compounds that could lead to approval of a new drug, and enhance recruitment of participants for clinical trials.
Ultimately, this big brain database will lead to better ways to treat brain disorders.
verb. /Strengthen; move, eat well and stay healthy/
Knocks to the head are no fun. If they happen repeatedly, does it make a difference in how our brains age?
It’s one of many topics that Dr. Brian Levine is investigating at Baycrest.
A roster of NHL alumni and former university hockey players, many of whom suffered concussions on the ice, is enrolled in a long-term study that includes brain scans every four years to look at factors that affect brain aging.
Dr. Levine’s team is also looking at lifestyle factors, genetics, chronic illnesses and proteins related to dementia, with the goal of identifying biomarkers to target to help prevent memory loss.
Baycrest’s Dr. Tomáš Paus is studying health across three generations, exploring how nature and nurture interact to shape the brain and body. His goal is to determine the factors that influence whether a person will age in a healthy manner or be at risk of developing disorders such as depression, dementia, obesity and diabetes.
This research will support the creation of a personalized, preventative strategy to maintain optimal health throughout your lifetime.
A good workout supports the survival and consolidation of brain cells, particularly in the hippocampus – an area of the brain that’s important for memory.
Exercise also increases the size of the frontal and temporal lobes, which are important not only for memory but also executive function – planning, solving problems and switching tasks.
Brain health is one reason that Baycrest places such importance on therapeutic fitness – exercise and falls prevention, tai chi, a walking and balance program, pole walking, swimming and dance classes and much more. The rehabilitation department gets patients moving again after an acute incident, such as a stroke or fall.
Our fitness programs receive support from the hundreds of riders who have raised millions of dollars since the mid-1990s in the annual Barrie 2 Baycrest cycling event.
Life is made of memorable moments – all stored in the most complicated machine on Earth. Keep a special memory alive in the Baycrest Memory Bank.
When you bank a memory, you’ll join the brain health movement – a global community dedicated to aging well and preserving precious memories.
Join the conversation about brain health and aging. Spread the word. Tag your posts with #ThinkBaycrest.
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