(CHICAGO, IL) The greatest concern of Baby Boomers about aging is staying mentally sharp, according to experts gathered in Chicago for the Boomer Summit, a part of this week’s annual meeting of the American Society on Aging.
Citing a study from the Natural Marketing Institute, Jeff Zimman, CEO of Posit Science, said that 53 percent of Boomers reported that staying sharp was their greatest concern about aging. It was closely followed by a concern about maintaining financial well-being (at 52 percent).
Zimman and 300 other leaders in business and aging policy gathered here for the fourth annual meeting of the Boomer Summit to discuss how to prepare for the coming wave of aging Boomers.
Zimman’s company, Posit Science, develops and markets computer-based brain fitness regimens and aims to address both of Boomers’ top concerns.
“We set out to build scientifically validated exercises that enhance cognitive performance,” Zimman said. “Our initial focus was on people who were generally beyond retirement age. We’ve now shown that we can increase cognitive performance significantly and we hear more and more stories of how that gain is helping people in the workplace.”
Posit Science reported that about half of the users of its Brain Fitness Program are still working either full-time or half-time.
“This has been a big year for us,” Zimman told the annual gathering. “Our first two studies were reported in leading publications — in The Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences and in Progress in Brain Research. Those studies showed significant enhancement — in lay terms, gains of more than 10 years in memory and other cognitive function.”
In addition, Posit Science announced major milestones in distribution of its Brain Fitness Program. Humana, the national health insurer, is offering the program for free to its Medicare Advantage members. More than 120 senior retirement communities across the country now license the Posit Science Brain Fitness Center. The company reported that it now has more than 100 authorized providers nationwide, and has sold thousands of copies through its online Brain Fitness Channel (www.PositScience.com).
“Perhaps, most importantly,” Zimman added, “the media discovered the category of brain fitness and there has been an explosion in public awareness.”
At the conference, Posit Science released its first study on the impact of its program on the “quality of life” of participants. A majority of program participants reported that they were more optimistic and felt more productive and in control of their lives. They also reported better memory in common everyday tasks, such as remembering names, phone numbers and why they walked into a room.
Posit Science also presented a recent study on usage of the program. Participants in a classroom setting used the program for an average of 4.6 hours per week. Participants using the program on their own at home spend an average of 4.1 hours per week.
“We’ve done enough studies to know that the program is effective,” Zimman said, “but we have always been concerned about whether people will engage with the program and stick with it in order to get the gains. Quite honestly, we were blown away to learn users like it so much that they are spending 4 to 5 hours per week doing the Brain Fitness Program on their own at home. Getting people engaged is the key.”