NECC staff and research partners believe that the promising results of the Mind Aerobics Suite of Cognitive Fitness Programs are based on several factors:
- The programs are evidence- informed with the goal of developing innovative interventions based on a model of purposeful cognitive stimulation.
- A multi-disciplinary approach is utilized in developing and modifying the programs, which are created by experienced educators in collaboration with specialists in the fields of neuropsychology, psychology and gerontology.
- Comprehensive curricula are designed to systematically stimulate six major cognitive areas and are based on both social and individual learning models.
- The programs incorporate key educational principles: practice, graduated challenge, reinforcement, repetition and cooperative learning.
- Visual, auditory and kinesthetic sensory modalities are utilized throughout the programs.
- Each program activity plays an integral role in the overall program.
- Trained trainers deliver the programs and create personalized learning environments that are comfortable, supportive and fun.
- The cooperative learning environments capture the affective component in learning, leading to increased ownership of skills learned.
- The social aspects of the programs enhance impact, improve motivation to participate, and provides participants the opportunity to offer one another mutual support, aid and encouragement, all of which tend to continue even after the programs end.
- The NECC approach to program design results in powerful, yet enjoyable programs that benefit participants in multiple ways.
NECC has the following Mind Aerobics Suite of Cognitive Programs available:
- — Normal to Forgetful Level
- — Mild to Moderate Cognitive Decline
- — Moderate Cognitive Decline
- — Moderately Severe Cognitive Decline
- — Severe Cognitive Decline
Program Components –The Six Domains
REACTION TIME All of the programs begin with a reaction time activity, targeting speed, accuracy and automatic responses. Studies have indicated that an improvement in reaction time may also result in an increase in processing time and may even play a role in fall prevention.
VISUAL/SPATIAL These activities target such things as location, position, composition, perspective and the participant’s relationship to his or her environment, with the goal of increasing awareness of self in space and the interrelationship of objects in space.
ATTENTION & CONCENTRATION This group of exercises is designed not only to improve skills in these areas but with an eye to memory, since remembering often improves with better attention and concentration.
MEMORY While other programs attempt to stimulate either short-term or long-term memory, NECC programs strive to help participants move information through the memory network from short-term through to long term.
LANGUAGE Targets in the language component include fluency, word retrieval and appropriate usage. Activities are designed to decrease the frequency of cognitive pauses and to increase flexibility and fluency for improved communication, problem solving and higher order thinking.
PROBLEM SOLVING More complex activities, requiring the use of the other domains to understand a problem and formulate a solution, are introduced in the final segment of each program.