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.
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.
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. )
(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) 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.
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.
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.
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.
Here is a guide for follow-ups