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Computer Games Help Sharpen the Saw

An innovative “fitness center” called The Brain Emporium offers Cleveland elders an opportunity to refute the adage “You can’t teach an old dog new tricks.”

The Emporium, Northeast Ohio’s first computerized brain fitness center, is a mind gymnasium where local elders can pump up their mental strength and increase their flexibility.

Founder and director T.J. McCallum, an associate professor of psychology at Case Western Reserve University, envisioned such an exercise center three years ago. With funding from the university, doors opened this spring.

Located in the Fairhill Partners complex, the facility gives older adults the opportunity to work with cutting-edge brain-training programs and games at little to no cost.

Judson Retirement Community resident Josephine Rich, 89, has found her participation in The Brain Emporium both enjoyable and helpful.

“This is great because I feel that I am benefiting from all of this fun,” she said. “I enjoy the challenge. I really think my recall is better. I find that I don’t have to refer to my lists as often.”

The Brain Emporium’s computerized programs are designed to engage and stimulate different areas of cognition, including memory, visual-spatial abilities, mental flexibility, processing speed, language and planning.

Another regular Brain Emporium attendee, Mickey Lewin, 71, believes the games have helped improve her memory. “People can tell me numbers and I don’t have to have them repeat them,” she observed.

“I don’t reverse numbers like I used to. I remember more things now.”

Visitors to The Brain Emporium work with McCallum and his graduate student assistants, who design training regimens tailored to an individual’s interests and abilities.

In addition to offering a diverse array of brain-fitness computer programs, the Brain Emporium encourages older adults to engage in physical movement, thereby building coordination and agility, while playing virtual tennis, bowling, or darts on a Nintendo Wii. Students from the Intergenerational School, at Fairhill, can earn privileges to volunteer at the Brain Emporium and instruct the older adults on the Wii.

The Brain Emporium programs aren’t yet proven to slow diseases such as Alzheimer’s, but do engage elders and sharpen their minds, McCallum said. “If you don’t use your body, it atrophies and the same is true for the brain.”

Source: Case Western Reserve University

Computer Games Help Sharpen the Saw

Rick Nauert PhD

Rick Nauert, PhDDr. Rick Nauert has over 25 years experience in clinical, administrative and academic healthcare. He is currently an associate professor for Rocky Mountain University of Health Professionals doctoral program in health promotion and wellness. Dr. Nauert began his career as a clinical physical therapist and served as a regional manager for a publicly traded multidisciplinary rehabilitation agency for 12 years. He has masters degrees in health-fitness management and healthcare administration and a doctoral degree from The University of Texas at Austin focused on health care informatics, health administration, health education and health policy. His research efforts included the area of telehealth with a specialty in disease management.

APA Reference
Nauert PhD, R. (2018). Computer Games Help Sharpen the Saw. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 26, 2019, from
Scientifically Reviewed
Last updated: 8 Aug 2018
Last reviewed: By a member of our scientific advisory board on 8 Aug 2018
Published on Psych All rights reserved.