I have written negatively about the brain games that
snake oil salesmen marketers have been selling to a fearful and unsuspecting aging public for some time. As we get older we have ’senior moments.’ So senior citizens are freaked about spending their final years drooling into their oatmeal being tended by uncaring health workers in old people’s homes. That’s a prospect to frighten anyone. So, along comes these companies selling ‘brain games’ promising to wipe away all their cognitive problems with a little playing a few times a week and monthly subscription fees.
I am a senior citizen, turned 76 last month. I took care of an aunt who had Alzheimer’s and two other family members suffered and died with dementia. My grandfather used to ‘wander off’ in his latter years. So, my grandfather may have also had it. This was in the 1950’s. Alzheimer’s Disease was not accepted as a common term until the late 1970’s. Before then, dementia and senility were considered a natural progression of old age.
We know better now, but that doesn’t mean seniors aren’t spooked about diminishing cognition.
The magazine Fast Company reported that “Sharp Brains, a market research firm tracking the brain fitness space, estimates that the size of the market for digital products was just under $300 million in 2009 and will grow to at least $2 billion by 2015.”
In January the FTC reached a settlement with Lumo Labs, the maker of Lumosity, one of the leaders in the brain games marketers. According to the New York Times, “Lumosity agreed to give its one million current subscribers, who pay $14.95 a month or $79.95 annually, a quick way to opt out. It also accepted a $50 million judgment, all but $2 million suspended after the commission reviewed the company’s financial records.”
“Even scientists who see promise in cognitive training applauded the agency’s action. “The criticisms were right,” said Joel Sneed, a psychologist at Queens College and senior author of a meta-analysis on cognitive training and depression.
“The field is far, far, far from demonstrating any reduction or delay in cognitive decline,” Dr. Sneed said.” The Times reported.
As I said in the opening paragraph, I have been complaining about these games for several years now. Not just complaining, but offering a positive alternative that doesn’t cost seniors any of their retirement funds and gives them a fighting chance to keep their mental faculties intact.
First, let me direct you to my Page – Important Facts About Your Brain (and Exercise Benefits)
Following are links to posts I wrote as far back as 2011:
Exercise, aging and the brain
Seniors short-changed in brain game craze
Physical exercise better than brain exercise for seniors
What is a defense against an aging brain?
Exercise benefits the brain – Chicago Tribune
10 ways to love your brain – Alzheimer’s Association
Brain game may help older adults
How to have a healthy brain and keep it
You can slow down brain drain
How seniors can bolster brain power
Finally, please save your money. Don’t waste it on those stupid games. You have it in your power to preserve your mental capacity. Exercise it.