As we age, we often lament that we can’t process information as quickly as before, that we can’t remember the critical things we had lined up for the day, and that staying focused takes more effort. We ask, “Why is that word on the tip of the tongue so elusive?” We may find ourselves in front of the computer with the search engine open, looking blankly at the screen as we struggle to remember what we sat down to search for…
As we age, our brains age with us, performing less efficiently. Things we did automatically take more time and effort. But, what if we could keep our brains honed and sharp as we age? We make resolutions at the start of each new year to go to the gym to enhance our physical well-being, so why not our brains?
Research into neuroplasticity informs us it is possible to keep our brain’s sharp over our lifespan. Structural and functional changes occur in our brains as a result of stimulation and experience as long as we are alive. Arrowsmith has understood and applied these principles for over 40 years to enhance cognitive functioning.
Frank is an example of what is possible. A successful entrepreneur, Frank at 73 years old had started to notice slippage.
“I had to admit to myself, reluctantly,” he says, “that my memory had gotten much worse and my analytical capacities had deteriorated. My thinking had become fuzzy and less inclined to follow a thought through to its conclusion. Taking in new data was getting more difficult, reading took longer and concentrating required more effort. On a scale from one to 10 (10 being my best in life), I had declined to a seven or an eight – and I am perhaps being kind to myself”.
So, to deal with his own gradual but perceptible decline in mental acuity, Frank decided to enroll in the Arrowsmith Symbol Relations Cognitive Enhancement Program.
Frank feared that boredom would set in. “I couldn’t have been more surprised,” he says. “The exercise draws you in. You are constantly trying to beat your last record and as you get better, you enjoy the progress as you notice your brain functioning better, which is a great motivator.”
After a couple of months, Frank observed changes. His ability to follow and express ideas sharpened and in discussions he felt calmer and more willing to consider other ideas and proposals. And he took on some challenging projects that he would otherwise have resisted.
Says Frank, “My advice for older people like myself who want to keep their brain functioning in the best possible way despite the natural aging process is definitely to try the Arrowsmith Program. It is not difficult to stay motivated and it brings amazing results. I am grateful every day for this opportunity, which has allowed me to improve my mental capacity and I see the improvement from week to week.”
Frank describes what he calls “the most dramatic and transformative” of all the changes – “an increased joie de vivre that permeates all aspects of my life. No struggle any more to get up and go in the morning. While before I had to convince myself to look forward to the day optimistically, now it is my default mood. In addition, and this qualifies most clearly as a personality change, I am becoming more social. I start conversations with people – in the gym, for example, whereas before a quick ‘hello’ would suffice. I find it quite remarkable that even at my age this type of profound change is still possible.”
Three ways to engage in the Symbol Relations Cognitive Enhancement Program
4 hours per week on-site in Toronto
4 hours per week of scheduled online sessions with a cognitive facilitator
Self-directed schedule of independent work online with a weekly check-in session with a cognitive facilitator
Research has found significant changes in:
- Cognitive Efficiency
- Processing Speed
- Fluid Reasoning
- Oral Vocabulary
“There is neuroplasticity as a function of Arrowsmith training…Arrowsmith cognitive exercises activate and functionally change areas and networks of the brain”, Researcher investigating the outcomes of Arrowsmith.
Shannon, a lawyer, talks about the benefits of this program.