Dr Beverley Cassidy, a geriatric psychiatrist and assistant professor with Dalhousie University Department of Psychiatry, was the guest speaker at the ACW-hosted noon time presentation of “Something Borrowed, Something Blue”.
In her presentation, Dr Cassidy reviewed for the audience of more than 40 people three particular areas around aging well, especially as it pertains to brain health: expected longevity in the 21st century; what new research in the field of neurobiology can tell us about brain health and aging well; and what can we learn from world cultures where people age optimally, especially so-called ‘Blue Zones’. Much to the surprise of most attendees, our genetics only account for about 25% of our longevity – the rest is influenced by where and how we live. Dr Cassidy showed how, at a cellular and even DNA level, healthy lifestyle choices can positively affect our longevity. She then looked at specific cultures around the world where people enjoy not only exceptional longevity, but live purposefully well into their 90s. Several factors can influence our brain health including a balanced diet with a heavy focus on plant-based choices, a sense of belonging where we care for (and are accountable to) one another, regular social interactions that promote healthy behaviours, and living a faith-based life.
Following her presentation, Dr Cassidy addressed many questions from the audience offering insight from her years of work with mood and cognitive disorders in later life. She expressed some very clear ideas about the connections between accessible public spaces, integrated living and optimal brain health. Those who attended received an entertaining, relevant and informative talk from a very engaging speaker.
Many thanks to Dr Cassidy and the ACW!