New Report Finds Link Between Mental Well-Being and Brain Health

Our lifestyle choices play a role in managing our brain health. We’ve all heard about the importance of exercise and eating well. But did you know that volunteering, joining a singing group or expressing gratitude impact “mental well-being,” which is now recognized as an important player in brain health. According to a recent report from AARP’s Global Council on Brain Health, mental well-being – defined as “feeling good, functioning well and coping adequately with life circumstances and challenges” – improves cognitive function and reduces the risk of dementia.

See the graphic below for quick tips to improve brain health, or read the full report for more advice and detailed  recommendations.

Updated Early-Stage & Beyond Community (ES&BC) Brochure

Our Early-Stage & Beyond Community (ES&BC) brings together families facing the challenges of memory loss for learning, friendship and support. The ES&BC is designed for people living with memory loss and their families from the time of early-stage diagnosis through the course of the illness. We offer an array of social and educational programs to address your concerns, to help you live well with memory loss and to plan for the future.

Memory Makers, an educational support group, is the entry point for the ES&BC. Offered spring, summer and fall, Memory Makers is open to individuals experiencing early-stage memory loss due to mild cognitive impairment, dementia, Alzheimer’s disease or a related disorder and their care partners. The group provides a comfortable learning environment for families experiencing similar issues. Click here for topics covered and contact information for Memory Makers.

After participating in Memory Makers, families may continue to learn and socialize with current and past group participants. The ES&BC extends the benefits of Memory Makers with activities, workshops and support groups. Highlights of the ES&BC for families include monthly art and music programs at the Nasher Museum of Art and monthly lunch gatherings at area restaurants. For care partners, there are educational workshops, ongoing support groups and a quarterly lecture series.

For a complete listing for ES&BC programs and services, see our updated ES&BC brochure.

Building Community with Purpose: Dementia Families Staying Connected Across Disease Trajectory

Natalie Leary, one of our team social workers, will present a poster at the Gerontological Society of America 2018 Annual Scientific Meeting this month. The poster, “Building Community with Purpose: Dementia Families Staying Connected Across Disease Trajectory,” explains the Early-Stage & Beyond Community discussed above.

Natalie, along with colleagues Lisa Gwyther and Bobbi Matchar, uses the poster to educate meeting attendees from around the world about the range of services and programs connecting vulnerable families for learning and support at a time when typical supports commonly dwindle. The poster describes the outcomes of such programs, which sustain caregivers through their family members’ often unpredictable and protracted declines.

We will also present this poster to colleagues at the Duke Center for the Study of Aging and Human Development Third Annual Research and Education Retreat later this month.

Congratulations, Natalie!


The Duke Family Support Program is…

Your source for help with Alzheimer’s, memory disorders, and elder care decisions. The Duke Family Support Program serves families and professionals concerned about or caring for persons with memory disorders in North Carolina, and Duke employees seeking help with elder care decisions.