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Brain Health

Additional Ways to Strengthen Your Resilience

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Reconnect with the world outside for optimal health

After being stuck inside from a bad winter, we often say things like, "I'm suffering from cabin fever", or after being inside all day we might say, "I need some fresh air." As usual, there is some truth to these familiar sayings that we have heard passed down from generation to generation. I hope that with it being summer, we do not find ourselves saying them. Our bodies crave the outdo...

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Can Technology Affect our Memory?

I get asked by the participants of my Wits Fitness Brain Training classes "how is technology today affecting our children's memory or ability to remember?" Good question. In the Wits Fitness classes, we do many activities that "exercise" m...

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Online health information - Is it reliable and still relevant?

  Many people today turn to the World Wide Web (www) as their source for information to solve problems, answer questions and even for their medical advice. You can now watch "how to" videos on so many things. Nevertheless, how do we know that the website that we land on has solid, reliable, trustworthy information? I mean, everything on the internet is true…right? No, unfortuna...

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Many benefits of volunteering

As part of our community wellness effort, this month we want to talk about the importance of volunteers. What a volunteer gives to an organization in time, expertise and spirit can never be repaid. However, there are also many benefits to the individual that make it one of the most rewarding things one can do. This month, Kristin Puckett, our 4-H program coordinator from Vermilion County, share...

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Think about keeping your brain strong today and every day in honor of Brain Awareness Week

Think about keeping your brain strong today and every day in honor of Brain Awareness Week Did you know that this week, March 13-19, 2017, is Brain Awareness Week? First, let me tell you what Brain Awareness Week is all about. Brain Awareness Week, the third week in March, is dedicated to promoting public awareness of the progress and benefits of brain research. Dana A...

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brain health

Brain Health for Kids

What's good for the goose is good for the gander. This is true about brain health… for kids. For the last several years, University of Illinois Extension Family Life educators have been educating citizens throughout Illinois on the importance of brain health. By providing Brain Health series workshops and monthly Wits Fitness brain health exercise classes, educators have worked...

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More Characteristics of Positive Aging

In the last article I mentioned that optimism, socialization and purpose were just a few of the characteristics proven to improve quality of life. So what are the additional elements that contribute to positive aging? Of course, eati...

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Elements of Self-Care

Elements of Self-Care As part of our community wellness effort, I am reprinting a blog post on self-care with permission from a colleague. Michele Crawford, is a Community Health Educator for University of Illinois Extension in Cook County. One of her areas of interest is self-care. In her role as a Health Educato...

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Reach out and engage with others - isolation is a real concern

The National Association of Area Agencies on Aging (N4a) along with the AARP Foundation, recently launched a national campaign to raise awareness of the growing problem of social isolation and loneliness affecting millions of older Americans. This topic is the focus of the annual Elder-care Locator Home for the Holidays Campaign which will be conducted through January 2017. This is a n...

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5 Minute Mindfulness for the Holiday Season

The gifts, the wrapping, the parties…oh my! Seemingly endless holiday demands can put additional stress on our time and resources. For most people, the holiday season is the busiest time of year with extra of everything – social demands, work projects, family obligations, and holiday to-do lists. I often find myself rushing through the season to get to the "next thing" and before I know it, New...

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Mental Challenges Help with Memory

Recently I came across an article in one of the local papers titled "No support behind brain games." I have to say that my first instinct was one of panic. I currently facilitate monthly Wits Fitness brain exercise classes in four different locations a...

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Take time to be more mindful each day

Take time to be more mindful each day. This week I want to talk about how and why we should be a little more mindful in our daily lives. But before I get started with that, here is an interesting fact on the increased popularity of the word mindfulness over the past 3 ½ years. The University of Illinois Family Life Team developed a lesson on mindfulness in late 2012. While rese...

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Aging in a Positive Light

From the time you are born, you start to age. Everyone on this earth is aging. The word "aging" is associated with positive words like "wisdom", "timeless", "experienced". But it also generates as many or more negative words and visuals. Why is there such a negative perception of...

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Marvelous Melodies! How Music Impacts Learning!

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Do I Have to do Crosswords to Stay Sharp?

  You may have noticed that all of the Family Files blog entries this month have been about brain health and memory in h...

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Your Baby's Brain Development

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Brain Health

Brain Health: It's Also About Protecting Your Brain

During my childhood, riding bikes was the essence of freedom. The tree-lined streets of my hometown begged to be explored. The wind in your hair, the sun on your face, and roaming around with your friends all day – many great memories were made on the back of our bicycles. In the late 80's, few children wore helmets while riding their bikes and my friends and I were no exception. Cruisi...

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Just Give Me a Minute and It Will Come to Me!

"The name of the restaurant is on the tip of my tongue and it is just not coming to me." Does this sound familiar? Everyone experiences trouble now and again recalling information when needed. It is most often proper nouns like the name of a person or place. Usually the more anxious you are in trying to recall, the less successful you might be in the moment. Eventually you may remember the forg...

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Mild Cognitive Impairment

Recently a woman in one of my programs asked me about a diagnosis that her husband had received - Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI).  According to the Alzheimer's Association website, MCI "causes cognitive changes that are serious enough to be noticed by the individuals experiencing them or to other people, but the changes are not severe enough to interfere with daily life or independent function." ...

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Coloring - It's not just for kids

Coloring – It's not just for kids! The benefits of coloring were first recognized by Carl Jung back in the early 20 th century. Recently we have seen a rise in the availabilit...

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March into Brain Health

Happy March Everyone!  This month the Family Life Team is going to focus our blogging efforts on brain health.  Brain health is one of my favorite topics to teach about or talk about. I like learning both about keeping our brains healthy as well as understanding more about Alzheimer's and the various types of dementia. This month our focus will be on brain health. If you are on Faceboo...

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Unplug and Re-Engage in Life

Everywhere around us, we see people constantly checking their smartphones. You might wonder "what could be so important that would have people tied so closely to those little devices?" Are they checking texts from friends? Facebook or Instagram updates?...

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Make 2016 the Year of Less Stress

  Lately, it seems like everyone I know is under a lot of stress. Loved ones to care for, events to plan, finances to balance, and paperwork to complete – these are just a few of the culprits behind their stress. No one can prevent stress,...

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Alzheimer's Prevention

As the population in America ages, the number of people with dementia, including Alzheimer's, will continue to rise.  These increasing numbers will mean a burden to our health care system and to the family members called upon to provide care.  In an article posted at SharpBrains.com, Dr. Khalsa of the Alzheimer's Research and Prevention Foundation discussed what he calls the "Four Pill...

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