Administration for Community Living promotes brain health with storytelling event in Chicago


CHICAGO, June 9, 2016 /PRNewswire-USNewswire/ — Studies show that older adults fear mental decline or memory loss as much as, or more than, other physical ailments — including heart disease and stroke. Yet according to a recent AARP survey, even though 98 percent of adults over the age of 40 believe that it is important to maintain or improve their brain health, only half are actually taking steps to do it. 

That’s why the Administration for Community Living (ACL), part of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), is partnering with Stagebridge, the nation’s oldest and most renowned theatre company of older adults, to help the nearly one million Chicago metro-area adults ages 60-69 learn about the many ways that they can contribute to their own brain health. Stagebridge, based in Oakland, Calif., was founded in 1978 with the mission of transforming the lives of older adults and their communities through the performing arts. The work of this award-winning company has been featured on numerous national media outlets and has attracted multigenerational audiences to its varied performances.

„Our brains change as we get older,” said Dr. Jane Tilly, HHS ACL brain health and aging expert. „We want everyone to think about brain health in a whole new way, like we do our hearts or joints. This means taking action to help reduce risks — exercising, eating right, and discovering a new talent, like storytelling.”
Along with partners, HHS ACL will host a week of learning and storytelling in the Chicago community.

Along with local partners, HHS ACL will host a storytelling competition on June 25 at 1:00 p.m. CT with winning entrants gathering on stage to spin their yarns before a live audience and panel of judges. Storytellers will take the stage in the Hoover-Leppen Theatre at the Center on Halsted (3656 N. Halsted Street, Chicago, IL) in a two-hour performance. Olga Loya, an award-winning Stagebridge professional storyteller, will kick things off with a story unique to our audience’s experiences with aging.

This storytelling event is in support of HHS ACL’s What is Brain Health? campaign. The campaign was developed to help older Americans understand normal signs of aging, recognize signs for concern, and learn about the steps they can take to reduce their risk of cognitive decline.
The What is Brain Health? campaign features a series of nationally televised public service announcements and, an interactive website designed to help people learn how to stay sharp as they age.
To view the PSAs and learn more about the campaign, brain health, and how the brain ages, visit
About the HHS’ Administration for Community Living
All Americans—including people with disabilities and older adults—should be able to live at home with the supports they need, participating in communities that value their contributions. ACL works with states, tribal organizations, community service providers, and families to maximize the independence, well-being, and health of older adults and people with disabilities across the lifespan, as well as their families and caregivers.