Brain Health Do’s and Don’ts

Stephanie Chong

Last week, Northwest Neighbors Village partnered with the Chevy Chase Citizen’s Association (CCCA) to offer a program on brain health. The talk was led by Dr. Jesse Brand, a board-certified clinical neuropsychologist, evaluating adults with a range of psychiatric, neurological, and medical disorders. Dr. Brand’s informative program explained what dementia is, and included examples of research-supported lifestyle changes that can build resilience against dementia.

Takeaways for maintaining a healthy brain include:

  • Challenge your mind – Learn something new, challenge yourself daily.
  • Reduce risk factors – Stop smoking, address problems with sleep, avoid excessive alcohol use.
  • Maintain a healthy diet – Eat plant based meals, try intermittent fasting, follow the MIND diet.
  • Exercise – Engage in aerobic exercise, strength and flexibility, and meditation and mindfulness activities.
  • Maintain Social Connections – Stay in touch with friends and family, volunteer, don’t be afraid to ask for help.

Dr. Brand pointed out that there are many ways to incorporate activities that support a healthy brain. Many of the lifestyles mentioned can be done in tandem with one another. For example, go for a walk with a friend, practice speaking a new language with another person, or gather with your family over a healthy meal.

While listening to Dr. Brand’s talk, I couldn’t help but think of the many ways Villages provide opportunities to engage in activities that support a healthy brain. NNV members have developed strong friendships at our weekly Gentle Yoga class, NNV tech volunteers help members master new technology, our weekly Coping with Uncertainty group and Neighborhood Chats offer opportunities for mutual support and belonging, and we never pass up the chance to gather over a healthy meal. Who would’ve thought that taking care of your brain health could be so much fun?

I hope you will continue to stay engaged with our Village, and encourage those who have been waiting to get involved with NNV to go ahead and do so. You just might find the benefits are greater than expected. To learn more about membership and volunteer opportunities, visit our website.

Click here to watch the full video of Dr. Brand’s presentation on Maintaining Brain Health: Do’s and Don’ts

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