July 13, 2010

Hartford, CT — Although there is a clinically proven brain fitness training tool that helps older adults reduce their likelihood of being in a car accident, according to a survey from The Hartford Financial Services Group, Inc. (NYSE: HIG), 74 percent of drivers are unaware of those benefits. Playing the game-like, computer-based program DriveSharp™ for 20 minutes a day, three times a week helps older drivers cut their crash risk up to 50 percent, stop 22 feet sooner when driving 55 mph and increase confidence while driving at night and in stressful conditions.

“It is important for drivers to understand that they can take an active role in staying safe on the road as they age,” said Jodi Olshevski, gerontologist and assistant vice president of The Hartford. “We all have a responsibility to maintain our driving skills throughout our lifetime. DriveSharp is research-based program that helps older adults think faster, focus better and react quicker on the road.”

About half of all adults surveyed believe older drivers can improve their skills to allow them to safely drive for more years, but drivers under 40 are least likely to believe there is anything an older driver can do to improve their skills to allow them to drive safely longer.

“DriveSharp is the only clinically proven program to improve the driving skills of older drivers,” said Steven Aldrich, CEO, Posit Science Corporation. “It was tested by a global team of more than 50 scientists and based on research funded by the National Institutes of Health.”

The brain fitness survey also found that while more than 60 percent of adults participate in an activity with the specific purpose of improving their brain, adults 60+ are the most likely age group to say they often participate in activities with the specific purpose of improving their brain.

10 Brain Fitness Tips

Eat dark chocolate – Dark chocolate causes your brain to release dopamine, a chemical that improves overall brain function and improves your memory.

Eat fish – Studies suggest that a diet rich in fish – especially fatty fish like salmon – can improve brain function.

Play ball – Throwing a ball up in the air and catching it, or better yet, trying your hand at juggling, can improve your hand-eye coordination and carries widespread brain health benefits.

Rest up – Getting a good night’s sleep is critical to brain function, and particularly memory.

Make your hobbies harder – Take on something a bit more difficult than you’re used to. By putting higher demands on your brain, you will have to concentrate harder and re-engage your brain’s learning ability.

Walk on a rocky road – Scientists believe that walking on uneven surfaces like cobblestones improves the vestibular system of the inner ear, which plays a central role in balance and equilibrium and translates to better balance.

Visit a museum – Go on a guided tour and pay very careful attention to what you see and hear. When you get home, write an outline of the tour that includes every detail you remember. Paying attention and practicing remembering can help the brain pump brain chemicals that assist memory and improve brain function.

Exercise your brain – Use brain fitness exercises like DriveSharp that promotes the ability for drivers to think faster, focus better, and react more quickly.

Learn to play a new instrument – Playing an instrument helps you exercise many interrelated dimensions of brain function, including listening, control of refined movement, and translation of written notes (sight) to music (movement and sound).

Use your other hand – While you may find it difficult at first, practicing an activity such as brushing your teeth with your subordinate hand can drive your brain to make positive changes.

DriveSharp Availability 
As part of The Hartford’s ongoing Safe Driving for a Lifetime public awareness campaign, The Hartford has partnered with Posit Science, the maker of DriveSharp, to offer discounts on the brain fitness software. For a limited time, The Hartford will offer the DriveSharp software to the public for $10 off retail value at www.hartfordbrainfitness.com. In addition, for Hartford policyholders who are the primary driver and complete the DriveSharp program (about 10 hours of training) – The Hartford will send a reward check for $50.

More information about brain fitness, free driving-wellness guidebooks, and interactive tools for older drivers and their families, as well as a blog community is available at www.safedrivingforalifetime.com.

The Hartford Brain Fitness Survey was fielded in June 2010 and was completed by 2,500 members of a managed access panel who were 18+ years-of-age and representative of the U.S. household population.

About the Hartford Advance 50 Team 
The Hartford is one of the few companies in the United States with in-house experts on aging. For over 25 years, The Hartford has employed gerontologists to advance the creation and delivery of research, educational materials and innovative business solutions to enhance the quality of life for the 50+ market.

About The Hartford 
Celebrating 200 years of helping its customers achieve what’s ahead, The Hartford (NYSE: HIG) is an insurance and wealth management company. Through its unique focus on customer needs, the company serves businesses and consumers by providing the products and solutions they need to protect their assets and income from risks and manage their wealth and retirement needs. A Fortune 100 company, The Hartford is recognized widely for its service expertise and as one of the world’s most ethical companies. More information on the company and its financial performance is available at www.thehartford.com.