Welcome to BCAT® Brain Fitness
Longitudinal research studies have found that frequent participation in mentally stimulating activities is associated with decreased rates of cognitive decline and risk for dementia. This does not mean that brain rehabilitation exercises will prevent dementia, but that they may delay onset and improve functional ability. Mental stimulation throughout the life span, not just in the older adult years, is thought to be vital for healthy cognitive functioning in the older years. Frequent mental exercises that "work" attention and memory skills are particularly important. For mental stimulation to be effective, it should:
- Be moderately challenging. That is, not so easy that little effort is required, nor so difficult that one feels frustrated.
- Be novel. That is, exercises should be varied with the introduction of new activities. This requires mental creativity.
- Be frequent. Like with physical exercise, brain rehabilitation is best achieved with frequent exercise. This could be daily, or at least five times a week.
- Be fun. It is in our human nature to participate more actively in activities that we enjoy. Frequency is often associated with pleasure.
- Be social. While it is not vital that mental stimulation be done in a social context, for some individuals who do not get much social stimulation, cognitive exercising with others may be beneficial.
We have designed each exercise with the best neuroscience evidence available. At the same time, we strive to make the exercises practical and accessible.
For Facilities, using the exercises in a social context is particularly beneficial. For example, the Word Searches module can be done in a group setting, in either a cooperative fashion, or as a competitive game. There are three levels of difficulty. Residents with memory and attentional problems can still play, just as residents who are cognitively intact can be challenged.
For Individuals, the interactive exercises are calibrated on a continuum of difficulty. If you are using a module for the first time, we recommend starting with the easiest game and then progressing to a level of difficulty that you find challenging. Aim for five workouts a week.