Birches’ “Living It!” Campaign Kicks Off with Intellectual Week

Clarendon Hills, IL, February 04, 2016 --( The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills, Ill. is promoting intellectual health and wellness this week as part of its “Living It!” campaign, a four-week initiative that encourages participants to try new activities in order to age more successfully.

Research shows that mental stimulation keeps the brain healthy and functioning properly as we age. A 2012 study in the Archives of Neurology, for example, concluded that people who engaged in more activities that stimulated the brain (like reading, writing and playing games) had lower levels of the protein amyloid in their brain, which is thought to cause Alzheimer’s disease in high concentrations.

The Birches performed its own research recently to better understand the health and wellness needs of its residents. Birches residents were asked to participate in Lifestyle Reviews in which they answered questions related to their intellectual, physical, social and spiritual health. The results of the study helped Birches staff determine what programs and activities to schedule for “Living It!” and throughout the year.

Lifestyle Reviews compiled from October 2014 to October 2015 showed that 75 percent of Birches respondents participate in group intellectual pursuits and individual intellectual pursuits. Close to half (44 percent) reported that they plan to maintain this level of intellectual activity, while close to a quarter (22 percent) reported that they had recently started efforts to improve their level of intellectual activity.

“Our residents are doing really well with their intellectual health. They participate in a lot of activities that keep their minds working, but there are always ways we can make our minds stronger,” said Birches’ Executive Director Jackie Foss.

During Intellectual Week, residents will have the opportunity to learn Sudoku, which has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association as a form of mental exercise that can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.

“A lot residents already play Sudoku, but there are some who don’t, and it is such a simple and effective way to boost brain health,” said Birches’ Activities Director Katie Klitchman. “We really want to encourage this healthy habit, and there is no better time to start than during ‘Living It!’”

Residents will also have the opportunity to read and write Valentine’s Day poetry. A 2013 study conducted by Exeter University scientists found that reading poetry stimulates the right side of the brain, which is typically associated with emotions, introspection and memory.

Of course, Intellectual Week will feature many other activities that stimulate various parts of the brain, including a gathering of the Birches’ Book Club, an introductory drawing class, a session of math Bingo and a meeting of The Birches’ dramatic arts club Acting Out.

“Anything you can do to get your mind thinking and working in a different way is good for your intellectual health,” said Klitchman. “It’s important try new activities that stimulate parts of your brain that don’t always get stimulated, whether it be doing a little math or writing a poem, it all contributes to better brain health.”

The Birches Assisted Living in Clarendon Hills offers professional services to support the physical, social, intellectual and spiritual growth of the older adults who make it their home. The Birches offers purposeful programming and activities designed to promote a healthy aging lifestyle and a strong sense of community. For more information about The Birches, call 630-789-1135 or visit:
The Birches Assisted Living
Jenny Smiechowski