05 Oct Embracing Neuroplasticity as a Way of Life at Charles E. Smith Life Communities
Raise your hand if you want to keep your brain healthy and memory intact all your life! If your hand is up, we have some good news for you.
Researchers with the Center for Vital Longevity at the University of Texas have long been intrigued by neuroplasticity, its impact on aging brains, and its role in keeping them healthy. In a nutshell, neuroplasticity refers to the nervous system’s ability to adapt to external stimuli. At Charles E. Smith Life Communities, we are also intrigued by this incredible scientific phenomenon and the power older brains hold to change and reorganize their structure in response to external stimulation.
In this blog, we’ll highlight how CESLC promotes a lifestyle dedicated to maintaining our resident’s brain health.
As a BCAT® Cognitive Center of Excellence, CESLC utilizes The BCAT® Approach, a unique and practical method to evaluate and support individuals with cognitive impairments, including memory issues. The approach consists of scientifically validated tools that can identify changes in mood or cognition, provide education on brain health and offer various mental exercise programs, supporting functional maintenance across the cognitive spectrum. Many of these best practices are integrated into CESLC activities. And it turns out music is one of the top methods to enhance neuroplasticity, potentially delaying age-related cognitive impairments.
At CESLC, music is crucial for creating enjoyable and enriching shared experiences. Listening to music also engages various cognitive processes, including recollection, attention and emotional regulation. Along with Ring House’s popular resident-led Opera Club, we host live recitals, classical music and jazz performances, community dances, and more. The Iris Music Project, a music trio working with residents since 2016, applies their non-traditional music-making approach to support residents as they create their own musical projects. The trio also organizes exciting music-centered activities, such as hosting drum circles, scoring art classes with beautiful melodies, and organizing festivals for community members across campus. We also make it easy for residents to enjoy musical experiences off-campus with outings to cultural events, including live performances and theatrical productions.
Of course, music is only part of it. We also recognize that what is good for the heart is also good for the brain, so exercise is an integral part of the equation. CESLC has well-appointed fitness centers and daily classes to improve cardiovascular health, strength, balance and flexibility.
Social engagement receives a lot of attention in brain science research. Studies show that quality social interactions contribute to cognitive vitality, emotional richness and a deeper appreciation of our world. If true, having a diverse group of curious, intellectual, lifelong learners around us can help keep us laughing, engaged and challenged.
At CESLC, we firmly believe that it is not just the quantity of social engagement but also the quality. For instance, our independent living community members at Ring House often engage in resident-led special interest clubs and discussion salons. We are proud to have attracted a well-educated community with many retired physicians, attorneys, teachers, academics, scholars, business leaders and accomplished individuals from different fields who call Ring House home.
We also offer lifelong learning opportunities for the broader community outside our campus. Exercise your brain and experience the CESLC lifestyle by attending one of our many LifeLab class series offered throughout the year. Check out the complimentary LifeLab Events here!