It is so hard when the time comes to give up the keys to the car. Without convenient transportation, it’s easy to find ourselves socially isolated, lonelier, and perhaps undernourished because it becomes cumbersome to buy groceries and unprocessed foods. According to an article in the Los Angeles Times, a new study suggests that the answer to staying sharp enough to keep the keys might be “brain training.”
In this study, older drivers who completed 10 sessions of brain training had about half as many motor-vehicle collisions in which they were at fault than those who had no training. The study led by scientists from the University of Alabama, Johns Hopkins University, Indiana University, Penn State and the University of South Florida suggests that the right kind of brain training can produce cognitive improvements that transfer to real-world skills. Amazingly enough, the effects of the computer-based brain training lasted at least six years.
The scientists involved reviewed the study participants’ driving records over a six-year period and found that those who had classes in reasoning and problem-solving skills had half as many at-fault car crashes as the control group. Those who took classes in memory training did no better than the control group. “Considering the importance of driving mobility and the cost of crashes, cognitive training has great potential to sustain independence and quality of life in older adults,” said Jerri Edwards, associate professor of Aging Studies at the University of South Florida, and co-author of the paper. “But importantly, this study provides further evidence that the right kind of brain training program can generalize to improve real-world activities among older adults.”
The speed-of-processing training program used in the study is available to consumers as part of the DriveSharp and InSight brain-fitness programs. The care companions at Home Care Assistance Columbus help our clients with mental stimulation, including those that help with smarter, sharper driving.