Creating Memory Fitness Programs

“Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  LINK TO PROGRAM

With the overwhelming concerns about memory and aging, there are often opportunities to create effective memory fitness programs for individuals attending senior center programs or those living in independent and assisted living residences. There are a wide variety of areas that can be of benefit not only for memory fitness but are keys to memory fitness and also successful aging.

THINGS TO THINK ABOUT:

1. Senior centers offer ongoing educational programs and bring in speakers on a wide variety of topics. There are also Elderhostel, now referred to as Road Scholar, programs. Libraries are another resource for a wide variety of opportunities to challenge your brain. Be adventurous and attend on your own or ask a friend to join you. My memory fitness programs have been presented to a wide variety of audiences, focusing on my  7  day memory fitness plan, so ask around or request such a program if you are in charge of selecting speakers.

2. Sometimes a group can be created after a program has been presented. Several years ago, after a series of lectures on memory fitness and related topics, a senior center created a regular brain building group to share ideas for those with typical memory frustrations and they also shared a variety of brain games.

3. There are many independent and assisted living communities forming memory groups and activities. Several have used the Brain Teasers Kit as a resource to supplement their programs with strategies as well as a variety of brain games.

TIPS TO CONSIDER:

1. Memory groups and related activities are often organized by the activity professional at a senior residence.  Perhaps they could consult with a memory fitness specialist to develop activities and how to modify them for those functioning at different levels in the same group to encourage increased attendance. Sometimes there may be a retiree with expertise in this area or a volunteer. Since the group may have people at a variety of levels of functioning, turning it over to be developed and run by an individual participating in the group is generally not recommended. Frequently issues come up regarding memory loss and related topics that need to be addressed by someone with expertise in these areas.

Some things to consider:

  1. Bring in speakers on related topics to successful aging and memory fitness particularly ones with practical tips that can be applied to everyday situations.
  2. Consider using the blogs corresponding to the Cable TV series “Memory Matters for ALL Ages”  for conversation starters and problem solving. There is also another extensive blog series that began in 2012 with information on memory basics, strategies, brain games, memory and aging and details about the 7 day memory fitness plan. With each blog comes with a tip for the week which can be a great group activity.
  3. If you are in a senior residence at any level, consider posting a hint, tip or a brain teaser. Post the answers to the brain games in another area. They can be great conversation starters for visitors as well as residents. Consider a wide variety of reminiscing activities which are always popular including puzzles and products that take a walk down memory lane for the 20th century.
  4. Since socialization experiences are part of any memory fitness recommendation take those outings or other events to another level. The activity professional could create some brain teasers or subjects for discussion to continue the conversation related to the outing.
  5. Having a sharing session where research related to memory fitness and successful aging is talked about. Even better, have people introduce the brain games they are enjoying.
  6. Book clubs are a great resource and discussing topics with those sharing like minded interests is a great brain fitness activity. Or just read something new everyday and share it with others who might be interested in what you have to say. Vary the topics so that your brain is challenged!
  7. One of my clients upon discharge from home health care expressed interest in going to a woman’s group that brings in very interesting speakers each month.  Many libraries are also excellent resources for a wide variety of programs. Have a group of people attend then meet later to talk about the experience for another  recommended brain fitness activity. Since socialization is the one of the keys to successful aging, meeting new people with interests in similar topics is another way to enlarge your circle.
  8. The internet can connect you to a wide variety of resources for brain fitness. Check the AARP website for brain game options.
  9. Explore the options made available by The Ohio Department of Aging. THey offer  a Lifelong Learning program where you can take college courses for free if you are over 60 years of age.

Local programs in Northeast Ohio

Sage Community offers program similar to the Elderhostel programs in Hudson, Ohio.  SAGE stands for Stimulation Adventure Growth Education and they have just finished their winter series. Call 330-288-8809 for information on their upcoming spring series.

The Gables of Hudson will be sponsoring a presentation by Kathryn, a speech-language pathologist, March 20th on Upgrading Your Memory Fitness Routine. It is a popular and fun program with ideas and examples of ways to challenge your brain. After the program some information will be shared about a new monthly memory matters club. It is being created for a small group of people with mild memory loss beginning in April who will receive strategies specifically directed to their current needs. Call  330-653-9170 for details or to make a reservation.

“Embrace curiosity, be open, playful, and persistent.” Debra Kaye

 Information on Kathryn’s products and links to sample pages
Contact Kathryn for information on creating a memory fitness group for your setting. 

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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