Developing a Personal Plan

By now you should have learned a great deal about how to maintain a healthy brain and various components of a brain healthy lifestyle. But of course the primary purpose of this program and these lessons is to learn how to help others avoid the epidemic of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia, and minimize other age related cognitive decline. And the primary tool or best means by which this is accomplished is through the Personal Brain Fitness Program and Plan.

Below is a link to a one page overview of what this program and plan contain, followed by a more completed rationale and overview.


The Personalized Brain Fitness Program & Plan 

This is an overview of the Personalized Brain Fitness Program, the core program in the American Brain Council’s Dementia Prevention Program.

Why This Program Is Needed

By now you should be aware of the fact that there are a variety of interventions, behaviors, habits and lifestyles that have been shown to dramatically reduce the risk for developing dementia. These have even been shown to reverse symptoms and improve cognitive function in those in the early stages of cognitive decline.

However, this same research also shows that no matter what the particular intervention is, there will always be some individuals who will not respond well, i.e. they will just continue their decline.

There are three basic reasons for this. First, every body is different. Second, there are more than 60 different things that can contribute to cognitive decline. And third, different issues (etiologies, or pathologies) can result in similar symptoms. Therefore, even though the symptoms may be similar, i.e. forgetfulness, difficulty concentrating or hearing, trouble recalling names, disorientation or depression, what helps one person or even a thousand individuals may not do much for your client with seemingly identical presenting problems.

Therefore, as shown in Dr. Bredesen’s UCLA study, a personalized plan is preferred to achieve the highest probability of success and the lowest risk for further decline. Moreover, if we can pinpoint what the most relevant factors are, contributing to their decline, and channel their focus and efforts on addressing those issues, the prospects for progress sooner are much higher.

On the other hand if critical issues contributing to their decline are overlooked or not identified and addressed, their chances of success are greatly diminished, and their likelihood of costly setbacks and further losses will not be reduced – at least not as much as they could be.

It is very important, especially in the early stages of your offerings, that every person make progress, if at all possible. So you and they can share that success by word of mouth and thus build your credibility and reputation with others.  So your success and profits with this program will depend largely upon their success and progress as they apply these principles. And that’s likely a good message to share with them, so they know that we are deeply committed to helping them improve with this program.

We realize this puts pressure on each of us to be effective, in a new field, but since our success also depends upon your success, know that we will be here to support, tutor, and help you any way that we can, including the analysis of risk factors, the development of personalized plans, providing tools and supplements, and in following up on and tweeking those plans.

Program Overview

Basically this program consists of the following components:
(Note the American Brain Council has more experienced professionals, and former students who can compose the Personalized Brain Fitness Plan proposal, and conduct follow-ups by phone. However, we would encourage you to learn this process and conduct as much of this locally as you feel able. But know we have done many of these and are willing to help you at any point if you need it. )

  1. A Dementia Risk Analysis to identify at least 56 factors plus medications, health conditions and medical procedures that could contribute to their cognitive decline.
  2. personalized plan based on the above noted analysis, to neutralize or reduce their risk factors, and improve their brain health and function. This plan will include:
    1. A summary of their most important strengths or protective factors
    2. A listing of all noted risk factors
    3. A summary of their most significant risk factors, i.e. the ones most likely to be contributing to their current deficits or which have great potential to impact their cognitive functioning in the future if not addressed.
    4. At least 5 to 10 primary recommendations based on their risk factors, and the recommendations for each listed (see chapter 3 of your Clinical Guide). The  recommendations listed here will typically include:
      (1)  Functional baseline testing, like the MOCA and Cognifit General Cognitive Assessment.
      (2)  Other bio or blood tests that may be helpful or insightful
      (3)  Dietary and lifestyle recommendations as suggested by their identified risk factors, and the recommendations in chapter 4, and elsewhere
      (4)  Recommendations to read specific chapters in their Users guide, and attend classes on related topics (in person or online).
      (5)  Recommendations to use a computer based brain training program like Neurotracker, and/or Cognifit, and the MUSE headband (included in their cost) or other mental activities that you will have access to
      (6)  A supplement with ingredients shown to address one or more of their risk factors.
    5. The recommendation to find a partner to do this with. This could be a family member or friend who is willing to go through this program with them at no extra charge.
    6. Other recommendations from chapter 3 in your clinical guide or the ABC advisers to reduce any other identified risk factor.
  1. Discuss this plan with them and their partner, if possible. Identify with your client a few things that they can and are willing to get started with. And note those down for both your records and theirs on a “To Do” sheet or card. (See example below.) This should include any online tests they agree to take or relevant blood test results that they think they might have and can provide, assigned reading or documentary watching, changes in diet, supplements they agree to take and how often, physical and mental activities, finding a partner etc. (See their plan and discuss what they feel comfortable starting with.)   Ask them to email, or bring back the results of any of these tests.
    Give them a copy of this To Do list and you keep a copy in their file.

(Note it is very important that they have a say in developing this personal action plan for the next week or so. As they will be much more likely to comply if it’s their plan, or a plan they had a say in developing rather than just your or our plan for them.)

  1. Show them how to use the tools they have purchased.
    1.  Show them how to use the MUSE headband (if they have purchased the complete program), download the app for this on their iPad or iPhone, and sync this with the headband  (Call Muse Customer support 1-888-508-MUSE or ABC Tech Support 866-634-9880 or Dr. Cox for assistance if needed. )
    2.  If Neurotracker and Cognifit are not already loaded onto an iPad for them, call ABC Tech Support 866-634-9880 or Dr. Cox to sign them up for Neurotracker, and later for Cognifit or BrainHQ (an email invite will be sent to their home computer).  Check back with them within 3 days to make sure they know how to use these.
  1. Provide them with a fitness tracker, download the app that supports it, sync these and show them how to use it.
  1. Provide them with a binder or download of the Users Guide to How to Maintain A Healthy Brain.
  1. Set-up follow-up appointments for the next 2-4 weeks. Ideally you should see them at least every week for the next 2 to 4 week launch. In these follow-ups it will be good if you can do the following:

    (1)  Review the few items that they agreed to do this week. (See their “To Do” sheet)
    (2) Praise ANYthing they have done in the past week, in line with their plan or that would promote the health of their brain – eating more veggies, less sugar, taking their supplements, being more physically or mentally active, etc.
    (3) Collect any test results, both cognitive or lab results they provide.
    (4) Ask what they have learned from what they have read or watched.
    (5) Ask if they have any questions.
    (6) Ask if they have had any problems taking the supplement. Ask when they take it and how often. If they have had trouble remembering to take it discuss options, like a daily pill box, or having a reliable partner dispense those for them. As a general rule individuals with any memory impairment should not be relied upon to take their meds or supplements.
    (7) If they have not been able to do some of the things they committed to do then  you will need to help them identify their obstacles and how they can be overcome. (You or they can consult with an adviser or instructor at ABC for other ideas.)
    (8) Discuss their plan for the coming week. Work with them to come up with an additional “To Do” list that they are willing to follow. Note times for any group classes or other activities.
    (9) Fill in the Habit Tracker to remind them and track their progress. Ask them to bring this in to subsequent sessions. (See chapter 14 and Appendix B in your Clinical Guide)
    The link below contains more recent and more specific step-by-step suggestions for conducting the initial education and training sessions.

  2. Set-up tentative follow-up appointments for the next 6-12 months, and specify the purpose for each, to include follow-up testing, progress evaluations, and plan adjustments as needed. Specify if these will be by phone or in person.
  1. Have someone call midweek their first 2 weeks to see how things are going. Ask about any progress being made and if they are having any problems or if they have any questions.
  1. Have someone call them the day before each major appointment to remind them of the appointment and what to bring.

If you would like to download the above for easy reference click on the link below.

Click below for an example of a risk analysis and Personal Plan.  The first is a pdf, the second is in Word2007 if you would like to work off this copy.

Risk Analysis & Personal Plan Example 1

Below is a list of risk factor Notes to Consider. This is also located in the later part of chapter 3 in your Clinical Guide.

Risk Factor Notes to consider

Here is a weekly 2Do List starter to help get them going. The first is in pdf the second in word for your use and adaptation.

pbf-weekly-2do-list-starter-2  (pdf format)
PBF Weekly 2Do list starter
     (Word format)

Here is a guide for follow-ups





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