Mental training good for elderly people

A new study suggests that brief mental training can help elderly people to perform their everyday work with ease.

Lead author George Rebok of Johns Hopkins University in Baltimore said, about 10 sessions of mental training can help elderly people in improving their brain processing speed and reasoning ability as compared to those who are not trained.

Elaborating the study, he said the results were even greater for those participants who got additional ‘booster’ sessions.

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The researchers carried a study on 2,832 elderly people with an average age of 73.6 years at the start of the study. The study was carried for about a 10-year period. The trained group was compared with the untrained group for the results.

There were three groups: memory training, reasoning training and speed-of-processing training groups.

The researchers taught the memory training group strategies for remembering word lists and sequences of text material items.

The reasoning group was given instruction on how to solve problems that follow patterns.

The last group, who received speed-of-processing training were taught under computer-based programme that focused on the ability to identify and locate visual info.

After 10 years, the researchers found that the participants in each intervention group had less difficulty with instrumental activities of daily life.

Study found that about 60 percent of the trained participants were at or above their starting level of function as far as their daily works were concerned regarding daily tasks such as using medications, cooking and managing finances, added the study.

The study was published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society.