July 27, 2021

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Dr. Sandra Kusack: “Aging is just because we stop learning new things. The trick is to always learn

It is one of life’s greatest ironies. A doctor becomes an expert in mental fitness and healthy aging and makes it her life’s work to educate the masses. But her entire world is turned upside down in a bizarre twist of fate when she experiences a series of debilitating strokes that force her into the role of patient.

That is the real-life story of Dr. Sandra Cusack, a professor in Educational Gerontology at Simon Fraser University, a member of the American Society on Aging, a member of the National Council on Aging, and the author of numerous books including Mental Fitness for Life – 7 Steps to Healthy Aging.

Recently, Dr. Cusack was a guest at Fraserview Intermediate Care Lodge in Richmond, B.C. when the lodge recently hosted its first ever Care Fair. Staff had the pleasure of interviewing Dr. Sandra Cusack as she spoke about her life’s journey and how she is living proof that you can achieve mental fitness for life. Her real-life story is one that inspires both health care professionals and residents alike.

In 2003, Dr. Cusack had a series of strokes which resulted in a permanent residency at Whitecliff Retirement Residence and the need to re-learn the tasks of everyday living. In April 2013, she attended her first public speaking engagement at the SFU Gerontology Conference where she inspired hundreds of people through sharing her touching story of perseverance and determination.

Dr. Sandra Cusack works to overcome the stigma that older people function at a lower level of mental ability. “If you give older people more time and give them a task that interests them,” Dr. Cusack explains, “they do just as well as anyone else.” As a living example of this game-changing theory, Dr. Sandra Cusack is certain that aging does not have to mean inevitable mental decline. “Evidence is accumulating,” she explains, “that the brain works a lot like a muscle – the harder you use it, the more it grows.”

Cusack’s book has been a source of inspiration for many, including Coreena Robertson, Director of Recreational Wellness and Life Enhancement at Fraserview Care Lodge. Robertson has created a Mind Body Approach solution to Alzheimer’s – Boomerang LIFE products by Intellicare.

Regular use of Boomerang LIFE products by Intellicare is an excellent way to keep seniors’ minds mentally active and engaged. The visually and audibly rich sounds and pictures of Boomerang MIND – Popular Sayings 3 part DVD set encourage lifelong learning and provide memory based exercises.

Intellicare is now featuring their latest addition to the product line: Boomerang MIND –Journey Kit: Winter Wonderland Edition 2 part DVD and Flashcard set (available in Professional or Home-Use format). It’s the perfect way to stimulate memories and conversations about seasons past through pleasant winter scenery and cues for dialogue.

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