According to psychotherapist Dr. Andrea Brandt, our brains remain “plastic” — able to change and make new connections — throughout life. Understanding this feeds into some Alzheimer’s prevention strategies, she explains in an exclusive interview.
Dr. Andrea Brandt has over thirty-five years of clinical experience. During her practice, Dr. Brandt has dedicated time to the development of methods for overcoming the stigma of aging and to growing older with purpose.

Dr. Brandt has published a new book called Mindful Aging: Embracing Your Life After 50 to Find Fulfillment, Purpose, and Joy. One chapter in the book is focused on brain fitness.

Coinciding with November being Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, Digital Journal took the opportunity to interview Dr. Brandt on the subject of methods ‘for keeping your brain fit as you age’.

Andrea Brandt  a licensed psychotherapist in Santa Monica  U.S.

Digital Journal: Many thanks for the interview Dr.Andrea Brandt. Please can you explain a little about your background and research interests?

Dr. Andrea Brandt: I am always pushing the envelope with people & with myself. So this forces me to check in to the background of whatever subject I am working on – I love to choose compelling topics like anger and aging. I want to expand the popular socially constructed beliefs around these types of topics.

DJ: Please explain how you came to write ‘Mindful Aging: Embracing Your Life After 50 to Find Fulfillment, Purpose, and Joy’

Dr. Brandt: It is all in the dedication of the book. My grandmother was a great inspiration to me. She thrived & produced well into her 90s and I wanted to know what might have contributed to that.

DJ: How did you go about conducting research for the book?

Dr. Brandt: Read a lot and talked with many, many of people, who turned me on to other people to talk to.

DJ: What are the fundamental themes of the book?

Dr. Brandt:Mindful Aging lays out the key ingredients essential for experiencing a healthy, happy, meaningful and significant older age. I’ve included personal stories, case examples, exercises, and tools to help older adults embrace their life, passions, purpose and creativity.

The fundamental themes I write about in the book are include (as per the book chapter titles): Gaining the Mindset to Create Your Best Years Yet; Letting Go of What Is No Longer Serving You; Finding Your Joy and Living Your New Dream…

DJ: Please can you expand a little more about the benefits of ‘brain fitness’?

Dr. Brandt: Just knowing you’re capable of improving is powerful. If you’ve always wanted to try something, do something, learn something new — an instrument, a language, a creative pursuit — but believed you were too old, think again.

DJ: Are there any studies that support brain fitness programs?

Dr. Brandt: There is a link to an excellent study on the AARP site.

[Editorial note: The studies show that different types of physical training activate specific parts of your brain, enhancing different cognitive functions].

DJ: How are book sales and the promotion activities going?

Dr. Brandt: The response has been great! We’ve received lots of great feedback from readers, letting us know that this is the book they’ve been waiting for as they enter into their fifties and beyond. The book has only been out for a few weeks, so we can’t wait for word to spread even more about the book, and help more people find their joy and purpose.

DJ: What do you plan to work on next?

Dr. Brandt: I just finished this book – so I really have no idea what is up next. Wait and see.

Dr. Andrea Brandt reveals positive paths to emotional health that teach you how to reinvent and empower yourself. She emphasizes the mind-body-heart connection as a key to mental, physical, and emotional wellness.