Overhead view of the surrounding countryside

Researchers Uncover #1 Tool for Improved Senior Brain Health

Jan 11, 2023

four people playing cards

It is common knowledge that the brain is much like the body—as you age, it’s essential to ‘use it or lose it.’ New clinical studies have also found that how you exercise your brain is key to retaining memory and cognitive function.

One study focused on a group of “SuperAgers” in their 80s and older who maintain the enviable cognitive function of those decades younger. This 2021 study on cognitive aging published in the Journal of American Medicine Association (JAMA) aimed to determine their secret to brain and memory function superiority.  The result determined that preserving these assets requires more than filling in the daily crossword puzzle. In fact, one key brain exercise outweighed all others—learning new information.


“Several recent clinical studies found older adults can preserve cognitive skills by consistently learning new information later in life,” notes Executive Director Keith Grady. “Our Engaged Living™ philosophy specifically targets lifelong learning by offering seminars, Ted Talk discussions, music and performing arts instruction and educational presentations by residents with expertise in science, technology and health.”

While previous studies on senior brain health found that those with higher levels of education retained improved brain function, new studies found that even older people with less education earned high-level memory scores by learning new information through listening to podcasts or attending lectures, reading about a new subject matter and writing about what they had learned.

Brain health experts recommend a ‘cross-training’ strategy for your brain similar to what you might do for your body by varying learning mechanisms. For example, use an audio format for learning, but also attend in-person lectures about a different subject and take an online learning course where the instruction is recapped, followed by introducing new information.


Socializing, also scientifically recognized as a tool to keep neurons firing, is a brain booster that requires memory and problem-solving abilities. A Northwestern University SuperAging Program study found that SuperAgers who had frequent social interactions also tended to have a more positive life outlook. Applewood’s exclusive Engaged Living program offers easy access to these scientifically-proven exercises to maintain and protect cognitive, physical and emotional wellness. Our retirement community setting is centered on frequent social interactions. Residents have daily learning opportunities through the convenience of on-campus college-level courses, seminars hosted by leading arts, science, health and technology experts and resident-managed Ted Talks on topics important to older people. On-site tours to cultural and educational destinations are also available.

We’d love to tell you more. Call us at (732) 303-7416 to tour our friendly and well-appointed community, model apartments and cottage homes and follow us on Facebook and Instagram.