New Reablement Program Demonstrates Ability to Push Back & Improve ­­­Cognition

By Jenny Kemper, Director, Kemper Cognitive Wellness

Kemper Cognitive Wellness is launching an innovative program this fall for people interested in enhancing or restoring cognitive function. BrainFit is a program aimed at recovering lost cognitive abilities, improving memory and aspects of brain function required to stay as independent as you can for as long as possible.  The program has been designed to serve the pressing needs of those struggling with mild cognitive impairment, early Alzheimer’s, or other dementias. It will challenge you, but you will have fun along the way!

BrainFit is the ultimate fitness club for your brain. While our brains aren’t considered a muscle, this vital organ benefits from regular, intense workouts throughout life.  BrainFIt incorporates the pillars of wellness and evidence-informed interventions that promote neurogenesis, or the ability to grow new brain cells and enhance cognition.  Cognitive training, non-invasive neurotechnologies, coordinated movement, and physical activity – all designed to steadily help participants improve their memory – and brain-healthy lifestyle coaching are cornerstones of the BrainFit experience.  People really enjoy two pilot projects we have launched that helped create BrainFit.

BrainFit is a powerful solution for those that are wishing to maintain independence and postpone or eliminate the need for long-term care in the future.

Who can participate in BrainFit

BrainFit is designed for individuals experiencing early cognitive loss and motivated to push back.  The eligible candidate is living at home with minimal support from a spouse or care partner.  BrainFit is a powerful solution for those that are wishing to maintain independence and postpone or eliminate the need for long-term care in the future.

What can participants expect from BrainFit?

BrainFit offers stabilization and optimization in individuals diagnosed with early Alzheimer’s, dementia, or mild cognitive impairment.  Frequency and intensity are critical; results will largely depend on attendance and participation.  BrainFit will be offered Monday-Friday from 2 pm to 4 pm CrossFit Cleveland in Rocky River.  The group is led by Dr. Nate Bergman and a Certified Brain Health Trainer.  It includes cognitive and physical exercise and brain training, accelerated with non-invasive wearable technologies.  Our BrainFit coaches give participants the tools and support to implement a brain-healthy lifestyle at home, as well.

The program requires a 3-month commitment.  Those that participate at this frequency of 5 days a week may experience most or all of these benefits:

  • Clear thinking and enhanced cognitive function
  • Increased independence
  • Improved communication
  • Mood stabilization and emotional regulation
  • Decreased anxiety
  • Increased social engagement
  • Improved appetite
  • Enhanced sleep quality

Pilot Data Results

Dr. Bergman and members of the Kemper Cognitive Wellness team, in collaboration with Kemper House, demonstrated a proof of concept for BrainFit in early 2021 with a small group of residents at Kemper House Highland Heights.  Due to the limitations of the COVID-19 pandemic, this program was piloted with residents whose dementia was severe enough to require full-time care at Kemper House.  “I was very cautiously optimistic,” says Dr. Nate Bergman of Kemper Cognitive Wellness.  “We applied a modified version of the BrainFit program to individuals with significant cognitive impairment.  The team was pleasantly surprised to see the impact of the interventions on these advanced residents.”

A number of tools were used to measure participants’ baseline physical and cognitive status and monthly progress over 3 months.  Gait Speed and Timed Up and Go assessments are both predictive of health, function, and fall risk in older adults.  The Mini Mental Status Exam is widely used to test cognitive function in the elderly; it tests orientation, attention, memory, language, and visio-spatial skills.

  • Get up and go increased an average of 4 seconds, and gait speed improved by an average 0.14 meters/second from January to March.
  • MMSE scores increased an average of 53% over 3 months.

Additionally, family members and staff observed and reported positive changes in range of motion, memory, engagement, language and conversation ability, self-care, and mood.  To learn more about the Pilot findings and participants’ improvement, go to KemperWellness.com/pilot.

In the next iteration of BrainFit, we’re upping the intensity and working with people further upstream in the disease process.  “The potential for these people is virtually unlimited,” says Bergman.

BrainFit is a powerful solution for those that are wishing to maintain independence and postpone or eliminate the need for long-term care in the future.

Ready to learn more?

If you are interested in pushing back against cognitive decline, for yourself or your loved one, contact Kemper to learn more.  BrainFIt begins October 4, 2021. Kemper Cognitive Wellness is taking applications for BrainFit now, and space is limited.  Is BrainFit right for you or a loved one? Contact Jenny Kemper to learn more and apply 216/337-1400 x105.