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AARP Foundation Receives $200,000 Grant from MetLife Foundation

Initiative helps older adults enhance their cognitive fitness (“brain health”)

The AARP Foundation, AARP’s affiliated charity, has received a $200,000 grant from the MetLife Foundation to expand the Staying Sharp initiative. Staying Sharp is a joint project of AARP Foundation, NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community and the Dana Alliance for Brain Initiatives that promotes cognitive fitness (“brain health”) as people enter their later years. This new grant provides funding for Staying Sharp forums and activities to be held in 2007.

Through publications, online information and live events such as speakers forums and presentations, Staying Sharp makes the very latest in brain research available and comprehensible to older Americans—providing people with clear and accurate information about brain health and maintenance of mental ability during the aging process.

“We are very grateful to the MetLife Foundation for the opportunity to continue the Staying Sharp activities. Brain health is an important part of being able to live independently and we are pleased to be able to bring valuable information and interesting forums to the public," says Robin Talbert, Executive Director, AARP Foundation.

MetLife Foundation funded the initiative in 2005 and 2006, supporting a series of Staying Sharp public forums that were held in Philadelphia, Chicago, Miami, St. Louis and Atlanta. The grant also supported the distribution of Staying Sharp Information Kits (in English and Spanish) that included easy to understand booklets on topics such as Memory Loss and Aging, Learning Throughout Life, Depression and Chronic Health Issues, and more. The grant also supported development of a core of volunteers trained to present a Brain Health Multimedia presentation.

“We are pleased to expand support for the Staying Sharp initiative,” said Sibyl Jacobson, President, MetLife Foundation. “This program not only raises awareness of the importance of keeping mentally fit, but promotes successful aging which is a major concern for the growing number of older adults.”

The collaboration has been a success for MetLife, The AARP Foundation and NRTA: AARP’s Educator Community, which oversees the Staying Sharp forums and activities. In June, over 1,200 people turned out to hear a Staying Sharp forum in Miami. Also, recently, more than 700 people turned out for a Staying Sharp forum in St. Louis that featured three top neuroscientists from nearby Washington University. The panelists were: Dr. John Morris, Director of the Memory and Aging Project, Center for Aging and Director of the Alzheimer’s Disease Center, Dr. Martha Storandt, Professor of Psychology and Dr. David Holtzman, Professor of Neurology & Molecular Biology and Pharmacology. The scientists discussed how the brain changes with age—memory loss, dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, and what members can do to protect and enhance brain health. The new grant will extend the reach of the Staying Sharp initiative bringing important brain health information to the public in more cities across the country.

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