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AARP Research

2015 Survey on Brain Health

This AARP survey examined how important brain health is to 40+ adults and activities they may be engaging in to maintain or improve their brain health.  It also looked at whether knowledge and education would lead to behavior change as well as situations that influence behavior. Lastly, this survey sought to understand what type of information adults were interested in receiving when it comes to brain health. 

Key findings Include:

Virtually all adults believe it is important to maintain or improve brain health; however, many are not currently engaging in activities that promote brain health.

  • Three-quarters of adults age 40+ are concerned about their brain health declining in the future.

  • While most adults have not noticed a change in their mental capacities, about one-third say their ability to remember things has decreased over the last five years.  This figure rises to 45% among seniors (age 65+).

  • A wide variety of activities are seen as important to brain health (e.g., sleep, diet, exercise, managing stress, reading, challenging the brain, etc.).  However, when asked what activity is most important, the most commonly reported response is challenging the mind with games and puzzles.

  • The most influential situations that would encourage engagement in brain healthy activities are things that happen to them personally (e.g., experiencing a major illness).

The survey was conducted for AARP by GFK. Interviews were conducted online September 18-28, 2015 among a nationally representative sample of 1,563 adults’ age 40+. Additional interviews were conducted with 388 African Americans, 362 Hispanics, and 308 Asians. The data is weighted by age, gender, race/ethnicity, employment status, and income. For more information, contact Laura Skufca at

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Rebecca Gillian

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