My husband, Will Stoler, and I were presenters at the annual international symposium for The National Certification Council for Activity Professionals, (NCCAP), which was held June 9th-11th, 2016, in Cary, North Carolina. We were honored to be with a remarkable group of knowledgeable professionals. They spend their days providing tools and activities to engage people who have cognitive, social/emotional and physical difficulties. These professionals work in adult day care, independent, assisted living and memory care facilities.
Our interactive and participatory presentation, “Transforming Your Aging Brain with the Multi Modal Method”, combines ancient and modern tools, including music, movement/dance, manual motion or sign language, mindful meditation with visualization and other practices such as art, poetry, writing, reminiscence/memory, yoga, cross-lateralization and drumming.
Our programs allow people to understand that the aging process can be creative, joyful and memorable! Recent studies were presented to the group within the PowerPoint format to allow participants the ability to clearly understand the choices we need to make for creative aging are essential to aging well.
We emphasize the importance of the food we eat, the water we drink, the exercise we do and the ways in which we engage with life. In two separate studies that were discussed, one from the Mayo Clinic, and another from the Albert Einstein College of Medicine, it was found that creative activities—such as all forms of music and art—as well as dancing, can minimize the risks of dementia and Alzheimer’s by more than 70 %.
In the afternoon, a group of very open-minded and joyful people participated as we sang, danced, signed, meditated, visualized and learned one of our original participatory songs, the “Brainy Walk”. Professionals came to understand that the most empowering way to age is to live our lives with meaning, passion creativity and a joyful spirit. This takes a small bit of discipline! Having fun, playing and engaging positively with life, all of this prevents cognitive decline.
These Activity Professionals have chosen a very timely and important career. As NCCAP evolves, these valuable individuals are essential to the health and wellness of our boomers and seniors. As Activity Professionals work with this exponentially growing population, boomers and seniors become empowered to experience their own creativity and joy as they age.
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