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Tuesday, May 3, 2016

Keeping your mind active after age 30 seminar Thursday

Saturday, September 17, 2011

As one gets older, certain aspects of normal abilities decline due to physical changes. Learning and stimulating the brain will help keep one actively learning throughout their life.

Mental Health America, Purdue Extension Office and Putnam County Community Foundation will be holding a seminar for keeping your mind active after 30. The seminar will take place at the Putnam County Museum at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Sept. 22.

Former Greencastle resident Madeleine Thomas will facilitate the seminar. The idea to start a maintenance class for keeping the mind active came to Thomas while was working in geriatrics at a nursing facility.

"They had a lot of problems with problem solving, memory, and higher thinking skills," Thomas explained. "They would reach a point where I would discharge them from therapy and they would come back weeks later with the same problem."

Thomas, a certified speech-language pathologist has spent the past 2-1/2 years researching and working with physicians at both RUSH Hospital of Chicago and the National Institute of Aging. She currently teaches classes all over the Indianapolis area called "Mind Fit 4 Life," which is what the seminar will be based off.

"You can grow brain cells for as long as you are alive," explained Thomas. "You just have to stimulate them."

Originally, the class was taught to the nursing facility once a week. It quickly progressed to twice a week due to an increased interest. The group has 18-20 people on a regular basis.

"It was the highlight of their week," Thomas said. "This is really benefiting people. They are really getting something out of this."

Thomas now teaches at several nursing faculties, senior centers, and church groups. The topic of maintaining brain function for as long as possible is becoming more and more important to researchers.

"The more knowledgeable we become on this subject the more we are improving the quality of life for these people," she said.

The group will teach people what they can do on their own time to stimulate their brains as well as enhance their quality of life.

"I hope they come away with an idea on how they can make subtle changes in their lifestyle and develop strategies to get them through daily activities while stimulating their brain development," Thomas said.

Some simple tips for keeping your brain stimulated include socializing, eating well, sleeping well and exercising. Anything that will make the mind think, engage and be attentive.

The class will provide the tools to keep one's mind actively learning and stimulated.

"I hope they come away feeling empowered," Thomas said. "I want this to be a lot of fun. I don't want this to be one of those boring seminars."

The cost of the seminar will be $5 and interested individuals need to make a reservation. To make a reservation, contact Eileen Johnson at 653-3310 or Jackie Baumann at 653-8411.

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