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Helping Others Helps Your Brain

Happy volunteer grandmother smiling at cameraA recent study was performed on adults 60 years of age and older in an effort to see if age-related declines in brain function could be slowed or even reversed via social service work.

The participants were entered in an Experience Corps (EC) program in three elementary schools. 

The volunteers were trained and spent 15 h/wk for 6 months during the academic year to assist teachers in kindergarten through third grade to promote children’s literacy and academic achievement.

The study participants, along with a control group, were studied via fMRI scans and cognitive testing at the beginning and end of the 6 month period.

The results of the study suggest that;

socially engaging cognitive activities in midlife and early late-life may reduce risk for AD (Alzheimer’s Disease) and dementia decades later.

Many studies have shown that being both mentally and socially engaged later in life is important to maintaining our brain fitness.

What’s wonderful about the Experience Corps program is that it combines the two.

According to the Experience Corps website:

"Giving back to your community may slow the aging process in ways that lead to a higher quality of life in older adults."

Experience Corps is a program that engages people over 55 to help meet the needs of their community while helping themselves. They program is currently offered in 22 cities across the United States. It’s a triple win in that it helps the students, the schools and the older adults who participate.

If you or someone else you know is over 55 years of age and looking for a way to give back to the community, why not check out Experience Corps or any similar group where social engagement and helping others is their focus.


Evidence for Neurocognitive Plasticity in At-Risk Older Adults

Clues To Maintaining Brain Fitness Into Old Age

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