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OUR BRAINS - PLASTIC OR ELASTIC?

The human brain is con­tin­u­ally alter­ing its struc­ture, functions and connections as a direct result of every­thing we do, expe­ri­ence, think and believe. Used well, this process referred to as ‘neuroplasticity’ can go on well into our twilight years. Harnessed following brain injury, neuroplasticity is an important adaptive mechanism in the ‘life by re-design’ process. 

Neuroplasticity requires certain conditions in which to flourish. Two of the most important are firstly sustained mental effort through the training of cognitive processes, and secondly lots and lots of real life opportunities for practice. Education and information about avoiding things which can harm the brain and reduce cog­ni­tive abil­i­ties including smok­ing, stress, sleep depri­va­tion, soft drinks, seden­tary lifestyles, exces­sive alco­hol, junk food, high blood pres­sure, high cho­les­terol lev­els, obe­sity, lone­li­ness, pes­simism and neg­a­tive self-talk also helps.

At CONNECT Lake Country we have created an environment that naturally challenges our residents’ capacity for neural change by actively fostering and encouraging residents to get involved. Residents are equal partner in a relationship designed to be mentally and physically stimulating, rich in opportunities for social interaction and meaningful connections with others, and with goals to strive for; where adventure and smart risk taking are as much a part of our daily diet as cognitive process training is.  As to the exercising of targeted process skills such as attention, information processing, memory and executive function we are developing this aspect of our services based on current research and the use of various established tools including the Attention Process Training Programs (APT) developed by McKay Moore Sohlberg and Catherine Mateer.

Perhaps brain plasticity is better described at CONNECT as brain elasticity!