Our newest programs, developed by the New England Cognitive Center, Mind Sharpener™ and Mind Works™ are a unique series of brain exercises based on the principles of neuroplasticity, which holds that our brains are capable of constantly rewiring and building stronger neural networks that enhance cognitive abilities.
ARA’s Mind Sharpener™ program is for people who don’t have any observable symptoms of dementia, but might be worried about getting it. The Mind Works™ program is targeted to people who have mild memory loss, may have consulted a medical provider about it, and may even have gotten a diagnosis.
Both programs require a very brief memory screening, conducted by ARA staff, to ensure placement in the best program. In addition, ARA is partnering with a researcher at Minnesota State University, who can conduct a baseline assessment of participants’ cognitive functioning. This may then be repeated at the end of the series if the participant wishes to see the progress they’ve made as long as they have agreed that their data may be used for the research.
Mind Sharpener™ and Mind Works™ are built on the same principles as physical fitness. Start at a baseline, exercise across different functions, gradually increase the challenge and difficulty, so that what would have once been impossible becomes routine.
Just like physical fitness improves muscle strength, cardio, and endurance, so brain fitness can improve reaction time, attention and concentration, memory, language, and problem-solving. Each of these, both physical and cognitive, have real impacts on individuals as they grow older, affecting balance, orientation, driving, climbing stairs, reducing the chance of falls/injuries, and promoting a greater likelihood of remaining independent in one’s own home.
The Mind Sharpener™ and Mind Works™ courses run for 24 sessions of one hour each, usually two days per week for 12 weeks. The cost is $240 per course (scholarships available).
Due to COVID, the programs have been successfully converted to online delivery. A computer with a camera, a mic, and a quiet enough space at home is all that is required for an hour of stimulating, mind-enhancing exercise.
Reports from those who’ve taken the course are that it is fun, challenging, and rewarding. It’s not unheard of that some will want to sign up for another course after they’ve completed their first one.