CHESTER, Ill.— Local Randolph County residents who are part of the Diabetes Support Group learned that “Two Heads are Better Than One” during a brain health program on socialization, led by Family Life Educator Susan Sloop.

Sloop stated that “what is good for your body is good for your brain” as she shared contributing factors that strengthen brain health. Getting good quality sleep, adopting a heart-healthy diet and staying physically active are essential to leading a healthy lifestyle. Staying relaxed by practicing stress management techniques and implementing protective factors will prevent individuals from taking on too many negative stressors that can be detrimental to their overall health and brain health.

When we are socially engaged, we feel a connection with others and nurture meaningful relationships. Social connectiveness helps improve thinking skills that can deteriorate as we age. A 2017 study through the Global Council on Brain Health found that “the absence of significant social relationships has been suggested to be as detrimental to a person’s health as smoking, high blood pressure and obesity.”

Sloop encouraged participants to stay social and get connected (or reconnected) with friends. Individuals should be a part of something, get involved and get out and about. She stated that individuals that find their social circle lacking should do an inventory to see where they can go to discover new friends and activities. Participants ended the program by completing some group work activities that encourage socialization and challenge brain activity through mental stimulation.

In her role as Family Life Educator, Sloop emphasizes healthy lifestyles throughout the lifespan. She partners with local agencies to provide educational programming that focuses on early childhood professional development, aging issues and brain health. Her partnerships are strong throughout local communities including senior centers, community coalitions, professional organizations, public health agencies, businesses, schools and clubs.

University of Illinois Extension provides equal opportunities in programs and employment. If you need a reasonable accommodation to participate in programming, contact your local registration office. Early requests are strongly encouraged to allow sufficient time for meeting your needs.

News source: Susan Sloop, 618-993-3304, ssloop@illinois.edu

News writer: Heather Willis, 618-357-2126, hdwillis@illinois.edu