New Memory Fitness Program May Reduce Need For Long Term Care Insurance Claims

A memory fitness program has demonstrated the ability to help improve the ability to recognize and recall words among older adults. 

By benefitting verbal learning and retention reserachers conducting a study found that as a result of the program, seniors’ self-perceived memory improved.  They note that this was an important factor in maintaining a positive outlook on life while aging. 

“Normal age-related memory decline affects more than half of all seniors,” explains Jesse Slome, director of the American Association for Long-Term Care Insurance and a leading long term care insurance expert.  “Seniors over age 80 are the most vulnerable so it is good to see that older adults who participated in a memory fitness program showed improvement.”  The age of study participants was an average of 81. 

Conducted at the Semel Institute for Neuroscience and Human Behavior at UCLA the study’s authors noted their findings demonstrates that it’s never too late to learn new skills to enhance one’s life.

The six-week UCLA program involved 12-session programs that differ from other cognitive training courses.  The UCLA program offered not only memory-training techniques but also education about lifestyle factors that may impact memory ability and overall brain health. Participants learned stress-reduction exercises and were instructed about the importance of daily physical exercise and maintaining a healthy diet rich in antioxidants.

This study involved 115 seniors at two full-service retirement communities in Maryland. Participants lived in the independent level of care in these communities and had memory complaints, but they had not been diagnosed with dementia and were not taking any medications for memory loss.

Half the participants were enrolled in the memory fitness program and received memory testing before beginning the program and after completion to assess improvement. The other half were placed on a waiting list for the program and acted as study controls.

Researchers noted that the UCLA team has offered similar programs at senior centers and on the UCLA campus.  They reported that this is one of the first times that such a comprehensive memory program has been designed for and offered in a retirement living community.

The one-hour education sessions focused on memory enhancement.  Among the older adults attending the classes, the researchers found marked improvement in verbal memory, as well as improvements in how they perceived their memory, compared with the controls. 

Cognitive decline is a leading reason that aging senior ultimately require costly long term care, Slome acknowledges.  “Long term care insurance can pay for qualifying care but you must apply well before a decline in mental ability or physical health takes place,” he notes.  Financial planning experts advise those seeking to learn more about long-term care planning and get long-term care insurance cost contact a designated expert via the Association’s Consumer Information Center at

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