Maintain Your Brain® workshop April 25 focuses on how the brain and memory work

Alzheimer’s Association encourages all Americans to live brain-healthy lifestyles

The Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter is hosting a 90-minute workshop, “Maintain Your Brain®: How to Live a Brain Healthy Lifestyle,” Tuesday, April 25 for everyone interested in how the brain and memory work, and how to live a brain-healthy lifestyle.

The workshop will be at the Boone County Council on Aging, 2141 Henry Luckow Lane, Belvidere, beginning at 6 p.m. Pre-registration is encouraged. Register online at or call (815) 484-1300.

“The health of our brains plays a critical role in almost everything we do, from thinking, feeling and remembering, to working, playing and even sleeping,” said Melody Pearson, program manager for the Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter.

“The good news is there is a lot we can do to help keep our brains healthier as we age. The Alzheimer’s Association encourages baby boomers and all Americans to live a brain-healthy lifestyle as increasing evidence shows that healthy lifestyle habits, such as being heart smart, eating a brain-healthy diet, staying physically and mentally active, and staying socially involved contribute to healthier aging and also may decrease the risk for Alzheimer’s.”

The Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter invites everyone interested in brain health—particularly baby boomers—to the 90-minute interactive and research-based workshop that features information on how the brain works, as well as strategies and scientifically rooted advice on lifestyle choices to keep memory sharp, including challenging mental activities, being physically active, engaging in social interactions and adopting a brain-healthy diet. The workshop also features exercises, activities and take-home reference materials.

“Since the launch of the Alzheimer’s Association’s Maintain Your Brain® campaign, the public has been asking us for clear guidance on what they can do to keep their brains healthy and reduce their risk of getting Alzheimer’s disease,” Pearson said. “As part of this campaign, the Alzheimer’s Association has developed the following 10 ways to maintain your brain.”

10 Ways to Maintain Your Brain®

1. Head First—Good health starts with your brain, so don’t take it for granted. It’s one of the most important body organs and needs care and maintenance.

2. Take Brain Health To Heart—Heart disease, high blood pressure, diabetes and stroke can increase your risk of Alzheimer’s.

3. Your Numbers Count—Keep your body weight, blood pressure, cholesterol and blood sugar levels within recommended ranges.

4. Feed Your Brain—Eat a low-fat, low-cholesterol diet that features dark-skinned vegetables and fruits, foods rich in antioxidants, vitamins E and C, B12, folate and Omega-3 fatty acids.

5. Work Your Body—Physical exercise keeps the blood flowing and encourages new brain cells. It doesn’t have to be a strenuous activity; do what you can—walking 30 minutes a day—to keep both body and mind active.

6. Jog Your Mind—Keeping your brain active and engaged increases its vitality and builds reserves of brain cells and connections. Read, write, play games, do crossword puzzles.

7. Connect With Others—Leisure activities that combine physical, mental and social elements are most likely to prevent dementia. Be social, converse, volunteer, join.

8. Heads Up! Protect Your Brain—Take precautions against injuries. Use your car seat belts, unclutter your house to avoid falls, and wear a helmet when cycling.

9. Use Your Head—Avoid unhealthy habits. Don’t smoke, drink excessive alcohol or use street drugs.

10. Think Ahead—Start Today!—You can do something today to protect your tomorrow.

Alzheimer’s (AHLZ-high-merz) is a progressive disease that destroys brain cells and gradually destroys a person’s memory and ability to learn, reason, make judgments, communicate and carry out daily activities. Alzheimer’s can last from three to 20 years, with eight years being the average. Many scientists believe Alzheimer’s develops over several decades before someone begins showing symptoms of the disease.

Today, more than half a million people in Illinois are affected by Alzheimer’s—including 210,000 people who have Alzheimer’s, plus their family members and caregivers. Nationally, more than 4.5 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. One in 10 Americans say they have a family member with Alzheimer’s, and one in three know someone with the disease.

The Alzheimer’s Association, the world leader in Alzheimer research and support, is the largest voluntary health organization dedicated to finding prevention methods, treatments and an eventual cure for Alzheimer’s. Since 1980, the donor-supported, nonprofit Alzheimer’s Association has provided reliable information and care consultation; created supportive services for families; increased funding for dementia research; and influenced public policy changes. The Alzheimer’s Association—Greater Illinois Chapter serves 68 counties in Illinois with offices in Bloomington, Carterville, Chicago, Joliet, Kankakee, Rockford, Skokie and Springfield. For more information, visit or call the chapter Helpline at (800) 272-3900.

From the April 19-25, 2006, issue

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