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Helping seniors stay sharp with games

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They're sharing a sweet snack at the Lodge at Shelburne Bay, but they're getting a workout at the same time-- a brain workout. These senior citizens are using a software program called Vigorous Mind. The Lodge at Shelburne Bay, a senior living community, uses it every week in its great room, or at any time on the computers set up throughout the buildings.

"I'm computer illiterate," resident Ann Durbrow said.

Maybe so, but Durbrow, 88, is enjoying the benefits of this computer program.

"It's very stimulating," she said. "We do crosswords, Sudoku, you know, the picture puzzles, the different ones they come on the screen quickly and you have to think quickly."

It stimulates the brain. Older folks can point and click their way to brain fitness.

"It's been noted several times that with exercising of the brain, as you do in every type of exercise, if you don't use it, you're going to lose it," said Jim McWilliam of the Lodge at Shelburne Bay.

In fact, McWilliam says there is growing scientific evidence that stimulating the brain can delay the onset of dementia and slow down cognitive decline. Vigorous Mind also allows seniors to email, and Skype face to face with far away relatives. They can use programs to help recollect their past, as well.

"I think one of the greatest challenges that our residents face on a daily basis is boredom," McWilliam said. "So, if we can bring them out of their apartment, into a collective group such as this, and have interchange back and forth with some good humor, some intelligence shared by residents, I think is monumental in giving them a better opportunity to have a better day."

And to have a little fun, too. Just ask 90-year-old Ann Kugler.

"Just being active and busy. And a little competition never hurts either-- to be the first answer," she said with a laugh.

It's social networking for seniors with benefits for their brain and their quality of life.

The Lodge at Shelburne Bay is owned by Bullrock Corporation and Vigorous Minds is available at its other senior living community in Middlebury, as well.

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