Brain Gain classes aim to help with memory

By: Joyia Emard, Loomis News Staff Writer
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“I hate the term ‘senior moment.’ I prefer to use ‘static in the attic,’” said Alice Jacobs, Ed.D. “We get over (age) 50 and forgetting becomes an aging thing,” Dr. Jacobs said. Jacobs will be conducting a series of classes called “Brain Gain: Ways to enhance memory, and lead a brain wellness lifestyle.” The classes begin Thursday, Oct. 2, at the Senior L.I.F.E. Center, located at the First United Methodist Church of Loomis. The educator said the classes are not just for seniors or those caring for seniors – it’s for anyone who is interested in learning about and improving their memory. Jacobs said that beginning in one’s 30s “as we age we experience memory changes. The older we get, the more pronounced the changes become.” According to Jacobs, viewing changes in brain function as people age shouldn’t be “about loss, but about change, understanding change and working through the changes to optimize and maintain brain function.” Thea Williams, 84, of Loomis, attended one of Jacobs’ classes two years ago and recommends it. “It was very good, helpful. If you don’t use your brain, you’ll lose it,” she said. “You can easily get into a rut and it’s the same old, same old.” Williams remembered Jacobs’ advice to try different things, don’t watch too much television and to try and do routine activities in a different way. Teretha Chisum, 84, a widow who used to live in Loomis, plans to attend the Brain Gain classes. “You’ve got to be around people or you’ll just dry up and go away,” she believes. Chisum enjoys playing pinochle at the center. Fellow pinochle player Lee Statum, 85, will also attend the class. Jacobs said her series of four, two-hour classes “empower” people by giving them current scientific information and include a social component. Attendees learn brain exercises that target different parts of the brain, then work together to try them out. Bob Friebertshauscr, 86, who used to live in Newcastle, said he suffered a stroke last year. He said he earned a math degree from Pepperdine University, but the stroke caused him to lose all of his math skills. “I’m trying to understand what’s happened to my brain,” he said when explaining why he wants to attend the class. “Everyone has brain problems,” said Fred Hitchens, co-director of the Senior L.I.F.E. Center with his wife, Acsa Hitchens. “Seniors are valuable. They need to compensate for things they can’t do anymore and retrain their brain,” he said. Jacobs said her program is “transformational,” causing people to “come away uplifted. They can take steps within their control to improve things.” Classes will be held from 10 a.m. to noon on four consecutive Thursdays: Oct. 2, 19, 16 and 23. The fee of $40 per person includes all handouts and materials. For more information, contact Acsa Hitchens at 660-0543.