AARP and the Global Council on Brain Health recognize barriers that impact some groups more than others and offer solutions to encourage cognitive wellness for all
WASHINGTON —Brain health is influenced by many factors, including economic and social factors such as income and financial security, housing conditions, environment, and access to nutritious food and exercise. A new report from AARP and the Global Council on Brain Health (GCBH), “ Building Better Brain Health for All People: GCBH Recommendations on Removing Barriers and Improving Opportunities Around the World ,” takes these into account and offers recommendations for achieving greater brain health.
“If we want to improve brain health for all, we have to pay more attention to the needs of those at greatest risk of poor health and address social conditions that stand in the way,” said Sarah Lenz Lock, Senior Vice President of Policy and Brain Health at AARP and Executive Director of the Global Council on Brain Health. “Cognitive decline is not inevitable, and everyone should have the opportunity to experience better brain health as they age.”
The report highlights the ‘ Six Pillars of Brain Health ’ that can support the ability of individuals to positively affect their brain health. The pillars include exercise, intellectual stimulation, sleep quality, stress management, social engagement, and nutrition. While these may sound simple, many obstacles can prevent people from incorporating the six pillars into their everyday lives.
Recommendations in the report for addressing barriers to brain health are informed by the latest scientific findings and by lived experience of people with cognitive issues. These include: For individuals : Be an active participant in your health care and seek providers you can trust to listen and understand your cultural values. Make healthy choices whenever possible and try to incorporate the Six Pillars of Brain Health into your lifestyle.
For health care providers: Prioritize prevention and establish brain health screening as an important element in check-ups of aging adults and others at risk. Ensure family caregivers have the information they need to provide the most effective care and include them in consultations as appropriate.
For policymakers: Establish public policies and practices to promote greater awareness and early identification of cognitive and mental health issues, including diverse voices in the policymaking process. Facilitate healthy lifestyles enabling people to proactively promote and sustain their brain health across their lifespans.
For communities: Promote community engagement to raise awareness of brain health and debunk misconceptions. As community leaders, employers can take the lead in creating incentives to encourage healthy behavior. Include community members in decision-making and incorporate diverse perspectives, expertise, and feedback in all education, outreach, and communications initiatives.
“Better brain health enables people’s minds to flourish so they can lead more rewarding lives,” said Lock. “Successful policies and strategies to promote brain health must integrate the many elements that influence cognitive wellness throughout life.”
Read the full report here and view the infographic .
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AARP is the nation’s largest nonprofit, nonpartisan organization dedicated to empowering people 50 and older to choose how they live as they age. With a nationwide presence, AARP strengthens communities and advocates for what matters most to the more than 100 million Americans 50-plus and their families: health security, financial stability and personal fulfillment. AARP also produces the nation’s largest circulation publications: AARP The Magazine and AARP Bulletin. To learn more, visit www.aarp.org/about-aarp/ , www.aarp.org/español or follow @AARP , @AARPenEspañol and @AARPadvocates on social media.
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