In aging seniors, healthy brain function is about more than just memory and coordination; everyday tasks, relationships, hobbies and quality of life are all affected. It stands to reason that the more aware and capable you are of cognitive reasoning and performing independent living activities the higher your self confidence and emotional health.
The nation’s largest study on brain fitness was performed in 2002 by the Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) and their results showed that a large percentage of participants over the age of 65 improved memory, reasoning and information-processing speed when they participated in training for five days per week. In addition, the study showed a 47% lower risk of dementia in participants who worked crossword puzzles four days a week than those who only worked the puzzles once a week. These results play into the notion of “Use it or Lose it” when it comes to cognitive aging.
Furthermore, an Australian study consisting of 30 peer-reviewed papers in controlled trials found that, as people experienced these lifestyle benefits they were also able to live longer and therefore reduce health care expenses.
Along with these studies, it is widely known that many seniors regularly engage in crossword puzzles, Sudoku and similar brain training games to slow dementia and aging. Many software companies have tapped into this need by creating games and exercises that aid in sustaining mental acuity. It has been reported that the brain fitness software market grew from $225 Million in 2007 to $265 Million in 2008. Here are the top three systems that claim to reduce dementia rates in seniors.
Posit Science claims that their products will help the user “think faster, focus better, and remember more.” Their software programs are designed for either a PC or a Mac. Each priced at $395.00
- Brain Fitness Program: Six programs that allow you to “Remember more & Feel Sharper” by practicing matching items, distinguishing objects, memory recall and story telling.
- InSight: Five programs designed for “Better Focus & Learn More” focusing on visual precision.
- DriveSharp: Two programs that deal with divided attention and increased processing times so that you will “Drive Carefully & React Faster”
Dakim offers two brain training concepts for seniors.
- A complete self-contained console that only needs a high-speed internet connection but does not require a keyboard, mouse or software program installation. It is marketed to both the individual senior and the senior living provider. After the initial purchase of $2,299 for the touch-screen console, more than 150 games are available for a $19.95 per month subscription.
- 2. New brain fitness software to be released this April for $349.99, which includes a one-year subscription.
CogniFit is a web-based system that does not require you to install software or purchase a console. Instead you access the programs through their website. Both programs described below are priced based on the following subscription terms: $19.95 per month, $99.50 for 6 months, or $170 annually.
- CogniFit Personal Coach: This program addresses overall cognitive skills and claims to improve memory and focus, and increase processing time.
- CogniFit Senior Driver: Similar to other driving programs, this system is designed to improve reaction time, handle multiple driving tasks and focus on potential road threat recognition.
About the Author: Ryan Malone is the founder and managing editor of Inside Elder Care and the author of the By Families, For Families Guide to Assisted Living. He can be reach on Twitter at @RyanMalone.