The event was an educational program titled "Maintain Your Brain" which focused on how to live a brain-healthy lifestyle. According to Marcey Ansley, executive director of the Lexington office, the program covers new ground in the fight against Alzheimer's disease and is a product of the association's research.
"The association just adopted brain health into our mission statement," she said. Before June, the association focused primarily on research and supporting caregivers of those suffering from Alzheimer's disease.
"We found we need to be thinking about this as a total body experience," she added.
"There are things that we can control and things that we cannot," said Laurie Dorough, program and education director for the Alzheimer's Association, listing age and genetics as uncontrollable factors. "One thing you can control is to have a brain-healthy lifestyle."
Dorough presented several concepts to Harlan County seniors and middle-agers of how to remain brain-healthy.
"People who are sharp as they grow older are those who stay active and have a busy social life," she said. "An older person with fewer social ties is more likely to develop memory loss than those with a more active social life ... people who are doing things that they enjoy, things that fill their day."
She also stressed the importance of a healthy diet, and said high cholesterol or blood pressure can damage the brain by constricting the blood and oxygen flow to the brain. She encouraged eating dark green, leafy vegetables, fruits and vegetables and foods containing carbohydrates, a "fuel for the brain."
In addition to stress management, exercise was also named as an important ingredient to brain health.
"Physical activity is great for both the body and the brain. What's good for the body is good for the brain," she said.
For the third year, the Harlan Senior Citizens Center will be organizing an Alzheimer's Memory Walk, part of the larger association's yearly fund-raiser.
"Not only does it raise funds, but it raises awareness," said Regina Nolan, support group leader and chairperson of this year's walk, along with honorary chairperson Barbara Bailey.
"This is the Alzheimer's Association's only fund-raiser," she added. During the past three years, she said, the turnout for the walk has been very good with at least 200 people each time. Local civic organizations, businesses, churches, families and groups of friends are encouraged to form a support team and participate in the walk.
This year's walk will be Sept. 17 from 10 a.m. to noon at Huff Park. Those interested in participating should contact Nolan at 573-6222 after 5 p.m.