New Brain Builders Coaching program helps to sharpen minds and bodies

For many of us, keeping active physically and mentally is an important part of everyday life. For seniors, it’s especially important to focus on staying mentally and physically sharp to ensure the brain and body remain strong and engaged as one ages. Maintaining a healthy lifestyle that includes socialization, physical exercise and exercises that stimulate the brain can help prevent cognitive decline as a result of aging.

JF&CS’s newly-enhanced Brain Builders Coaching program is helping local seniors do just that! Made possible through a generous donation by the Lawrence and Rebecca Stern Family Foundation through the Jewish Federation of Greater Pittsburgh’s Center for Jewish Philanthropy, the program combines physically and mentally stimulating activities to enhance cognitive ability. Much like a fitness trainer would develop an individualized physical health plan, the Brain Builders Coaching program helps seniors maintain their brain health by establishing a plan of cognitively stimulating activities consisting of a mix of classes, activities and events at various locations throughout the community. JF&CS is the only organization to provide a program like this in the area.

The Brain Builders Coaching program allows seniors 65 and older to meet with a JF&CS Brain Builders coach for an individualized assessment, where participants will receive a personalized brain fitness plan designed to increase mental stimulation and keep the brain active and healthy. The coach also provides senior participants with ongoing encouragement, support, evaluation and information.

As part of the new enhancements to Brain Builders, the program allows for a rolling admission, so seniors can join at any time, and enables them to continue the program at their own pace and participate in new activities based on their own interests.

Results from past Brain Builders participants showed that 71% of participants gained improvement in mental status and 81% of participants reported improved functioning in one or more areas, including computer skills, creative and artistic skills, physical activity, wellness and more.

Cognitive decline does not have to be a natural part of the aging process, and this program is part of JF&CS’s ongoing commitment to provide services that allow seniors to remain active in the community and maintain their maximum independence.

Seniors aged 65 and older and able to participate in activities requiring mild to moderate physical ability are welcome.

For information about the newly-enhanced Brain Builders Coaching program or to participate, please contact Ellie Eisenstat, JF&CS program & resource coordinator at 412-904-5960 or by email at eeisenstat@jfcspgh.org.

You can also find out more about the Brain Builders Coaching program, and additional services for seniors, by contacting AgeWell Pittsburgh at 412-422-0400. Brain Builders Coaching is part of the AgeWell Pittsburgh network of services designed to help older adults remain healthy and independent. AgeWell Pittsburgh is a collaborative program of JF&CS, JAA and JCC.

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