Challenging our brains as we grow older can improve our cognitive abilities and our memory.  At the Shapiro-Rudolph Adult Day Center we provide a variety of “classes” which promote learning and education. As an added benefit, peer interaction within these groups prevents social isolation which often occurs as we age.  We lose touch with our friends due to life circumstances or medical issues.  Staying mentally active and connected is imperative to aging successfully.

Each week a lively current events discussion is held summarizing the news of the week.  Included in this dialogue is an exploration of a country and its culture that may have been in the news. Even if newspaper reading is no longer a part of daily activities, the group provides opportunities to remain current and up to date.  Knowing the participant’s background enables the discussion leader to involve clients in appropriate dialogue.  Staff uses their own education to augment the discussions.

In addition to the current event groups, other programs are held weekly which contribute to lifelong learning.  Poetry groups sharpen functioning as word construction is discussed, themes are reviewed and comparative analysis of poetry from the past and current is pondered.  Rhyming is often incorporated and reminiscence is part of this group as it is for many of our programs.  Word games, crossword puzzles, spelling bees, word searches, and finding synonyms are just samplings of weekly activities that are paramount to maintaining brain functioning.  “You be the Judge” is another opportunity for participants to discuss how they would resolve a legal issue. 

Every month a nursing in- service is held which help our clients stay current with medical issues that may affect them or a loved one.  These groups, led by Michelle Mazzone RN, provide an opportunity for participants to ask questions about timely topics.  Sharing and learning from one another occurs in this group as well as any time clients are together. Monthly art appreciation classes are held, encouraging discussion regarding various pieces of art including color, the emotions the picture evokes and history.

Drawing on the rich heritage of our participants, each time they are together, our clients support and engage one another in give and take banter.  Even if no other educational programs were held on an ongoing basis, clients and their families recognize the importance of these interactions in “maintaining the brain.”  These interactions alone are reason enough for attending an adult day health center.

By June Davis, Director, Shapiro-Rudolph Adult Day Center in Peabody, MA