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Mental fitness pilot project : a summary report

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During the past five years, Century House has played a leadership role in supporting innovative community research projects in the area of lifelong learning for seniors, culminating in the mental fitness pilot project. Research and development work is divided into three phases: Phase I - Lifelong Learning Project (Needs Assessment); Phase II - Mental Fitness Research Project; Phase III - Mental Fitness Pilot Program. During this third phase, the consultants' task was to develop, facilitate, and evaluate a series of 8 intensive all-day mental fitness workshops based on the components of mental fitness as outlined in the mental fitness research project; subsequently to offer a series of half-day workshops to introduce a second group of people to the fundamentals of mental fitness. This report focuses on the 8-week series of all-day workshops and provides an outline of the sessions, captures topics of interest, and recommends future directions for programming of a practical nature (e.g., memory skills) to help people keep mentally fit for life. Every attempt has been made to capture the experiences and voices of participants (actual quotes are italicized). The goal of the mental fitness program is a healthy mind in a healthy body. Objectives were: (1) to develop knowledge and skills of mental fitness; (2) to promote the attitudes of mental fitness (optimism, flexibility, confidence, self-esteem); and (3) to promote healthy lifestyles that sustain mental fitness.
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