Did you know that May 27th is National Senior Health & Fitness Day? This is the annual event’s 22nd year of encouraging older adults to keep up their mental and physical health by participating in activities throughout the day. Registered organizations all across the country are providing Senior Day events–such as fitness walks, low-impact exercises and health screenings–for the estimated 100,000 participants.
Public engagement continues to be a crucial part of the Dana Foundation’s mission. Dana’s public outreach arm, the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives (DABI) shares information about the brain through programs like Brain Awareness Week, Lending Library, and Staying Sharp. The Staying Sharp program is a series of public talks that give people information on how the brain works and how they can maximize brain function and health. Over the past few years we shared this information with many communities, from African-American churches in Oakland, California, and Mt. Vernon, New York, to seniors living in Lexington, Kentucky. One of our most recent live forums was geared to the Chinese community in New York.
Proportionally, minorities are more likely than whites to have Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias in the United States. African Americans are two times more likely than non-Hispanic whites to be affected and Hispanics are 1.5 times more likely. These persistent disparities are not fully understood, though genetics, lifestyle, and other factors have been studied. “Unfortunately I don’t think there’s a clear answer,” said Dana Alliance member Patrick Griffith, M.D., F.A.A.N. “It’s probably multi-factorial.”
April is Minority Health Month, so I called Griffith earlier this week to get his insight. He is the retired chief of neurology and professor of clinical medicine at the Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta, and has spoken at several of Dana’s Staying Sharp events, from New York to California.
If you will be in the Bay area this weekend, please join us Saturday at the Allen Temple Baptist Church in Oakland for a free Staying Sharp forum. The program includes a panel discussion from 9 am to 11 am with Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives member Patrick A. Griffith, M.D., FAAN, from Morehouse School of Medicine in Atlanta and three other experts: Jackie Bolds, MD, from Alameda Health System; Monika B. Eckfield, RN, PhD from the Department of Nursing and Health Sciences at California State University, East Bay; and Marcus Penn, MD, CYT, a health and wellness consultant. They will share the latest information on the aging brain, memory, Alzheimer’s disease, brain health and more. For the last thirty minutes the experts will take questions from people in the audience.