Brain Training May Help Seniors Drive Longer

seniordrive2A decade ago, Penn State University researchers tested some 2,000 people ages 65 and older to measure the effects of three different cognitive training programs―reasoning, memory and divided attention―on driving cessation in older adults.

All participants were drivers at the start of the program and were in good health. They were evaluated seven times over the course of 10 years.

Both the reasoning and the memory training used pencil and paper activities, while the divided-attention training used a computer program. The reasoning exercise included brain teasers and taught the participants problem-solving strategies, while the memory training involved categorizing lists of words to help with everyday life, such as a list of errands or a grocery list. A part of the sample did not participate in these exercises.

The divided-attention, or speed of processing, training used perceptual exercises where participants were shown several objects on a screen at once for a very brief period of time. They were then asked questions about what they had seen. This program was adaptive, becoming more difficult after the first five exercises were completed.

When researchers revisited the participants 10 years later, they reported the following:

  • participants who completed either the reasoning or divided-attention training were between 55 and 49 percent more likely to still be drivers 10 years after the study began than those who did not receive training
  • randomly selected participants who received additional divided-attention training were 70 percent more likely to report still driving after 10 years

Studies like this are important because the ability to drive has huge ramifications for seniors, resulting in loss of independence.

If you are looking for ways to keep your brain healthy, Optiminds has earned a reputation for helping to improve the cognitive skills and memory of students of all ages. Learn more about us by calling us today at (248) 496-0150 or by visiting us at: optimindsct.com.

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