Brain fitness is a key focus for senior living communities, but providing cognitive challenges is much more than crossword puzzles and trivia. It doesn't have to just be using a computer program. Today, brain fitness programs should incorporate autobiography programming for these 4 reasons.

1) Social wellness - There is nothing more complex than another human being. The brain is growing new neurons as people learn more about each other through sharing life experiences. People are thinking hard about a past experience, and they are learning to listen intently too.

2) Physical wellness - It's wonderful when the mind-body connection is explored. For example, when people walk and talk together sharing a questions such as "What is the greatest invention of your lifetime?" the brain is being stimulated, the blood is pumping, and older people have a chance to really connect. Reminiscence has been found to lower depression and physical pain too. Dr. Gene Cohen, an expert on creativity an aging, once said, "Autobiography for older adults is like chocolate for the brain."
3) Emotional wellness - Eyes are the windows to the soul. When people share their stories, they realize that they have all shared joys and challenges. Talking about these events can help people come to terms with the past and reach new understanding on what was learned and how they made it through such a difficult time.

4) Intellectual wellness - Through autobiography, people learn about themselves and they learn about each other. Perhaps they can find something meaningful to do on the computer--typing up the memories. Sometimes they are learning about someone else's work or hobbies. There are many chances to explore new information when the door is open to people's life journey and the adventures that happen along the way.   -- for communities  -- for individuals