PANAMA CITY, Fla. (WMBB) — For more than a year, staff members at the Bay County Council on Aging began observing changes in their client’s mental abilities. 

“We’re starting to notice that we are not as knowledgeable or we’re forgetting things more frequently,” Program Coordinator Lynn McCory said.

And that was the birth of Brain Health.

The Brain Health program assesses participants through a series of exercises that help establish a baseline for their memories, balance, and other cognitive functions. 

The council received a grant to buy the $13,000 piece of equipment.

After setting a baseline, participants go through 6-weeks of exercises, from playing ping pong to physical therapy to help strengthen their minds.

“All the data that’s stored based on those games, we’re able to compare the initial to the final assessment,” Occupational Therapy doctoral student Erin Eckert said. “So we’re able to look at the participant scores, accuracy response time, and different variables like that. We can also look at strict memory tests to see if we’ve improved on memory throughout the program and stuff like that. “

McCory said the program results have been staggering. 

“We already look at the statistics and everyone has increased everyone so,” McCory said. 

Participant Lee Costello who significantly increased both her reaction time and memory said she didn’t expect to see such as improvement. 

“That just shows we can build a better brain, that we can keep our mind sharper,” Costello said.

The first 12 participants have just completed the program.

The next session is scheduled to begin on May 23 and costs $100. 

To sign up, call the Bay County Council on Aging at (850) 769-3468.