Did you know nearly 600,000 Canadians live with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia? And did you know that number is expected to rise in the coming years? Those are some scary statistics, but they illustrate why it’s so important to get a “head start” on keeping our minds healthy as we age.
The Yogen Fruz Brain Project wants you to take brain health seriously. Back for its fourth year, these brain-themed art installations aim to raise awareness of – and funds for – vital research on dementia and aging that is currently being conducted by the Baycrest Foundation.
Now displayed at Toronto’s Yorkdale Mall, the exhibit boasts fifty sculptures designed by top artists from as far away as Israel and Turkey, and as close to home as the USA and right here in Canada. The project’s organizers aim to raise $1 million dollars through this year’s project. These funds will go to support cutting-edge research as well as patient care, education and innovation at Baycrest.
Toronto-based artist Andrea Pascual is one of this year’s featured sculptors. She was keen to participate in this brainy idea, because dementia has personally affected her family. “I hope my brain evokes curiosity, understanding, empathy, awareness, and love for one’s brain. I hope for the viewer to be conscious of their brain health and the brain health of their loved ones,” says Pascual of her sculpture.
While Baycrest hopes to one day cure dementia with its research, it also wants to empower Canadians to avoid developing it. How does one do that? Well, the answer is it’s important to stay active! For example, a healthy lifestyle that includes regular exercise can cut your risk of developing dementia by a staggering 28%. Studying a second language is also an excellent strategy, as it can delay the onset of dementia by as many as four years.
Dr. Rosanna Olsen is a scientist at the Rotman Research Institute. Olsen emphasizes Canadians should start taking better care of our noggins from a young age. She explains, “Young people may not be aware that promoting brain health during their younger and middle-aged years can have a big impact on brain function in their senior years.” That means that all the binge-drinking and those late nights at da club add up, which could compromise your ability to do addition in forty years. That’s why it’s important to create healthy habits for yourself now so you can safeguard that brain of yours for the future, and live a better life now while you’re at it!
So why not head up to Yorkdale to take in some art, and get inspired to take better care of your brain? To learn more about donating to Baycrest, visit their website. Together, we can defeat dementia!