“When my mother and I were together or talking on the phone she would sometimes repeat her questions or ask the same ones,” says Chris Snow, Director of Hotel Operations at Bally’s Las Vegas. When his mother’s memory loss started she would forget simple things like how to turn on the TV. Snow helped her by writing down instructions. However, her condition worsened and after a couple accidental falls and hospital visits she eventually moved into his home so he could care for her.
Snow is not alone. Many Caesars Entertainment team members have struggled to care for a loved one dealing with dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors eventually suffers from dementia. Motivated to better understand the problem and explore potential solutions, Caesars has gifted $400,000 to the Cleveland Clinic Lou Ruvo Center for Brain Health and has committed a third $200,000 grant later this year. Thanks to the generous funding, the clinic built a Healthy Brains website and app where you can test if your lifestyle choices are brain healthy, get a score, and learn tips on how to improve your brain health. Today, in celebration of Healthy Brains Day, the website and app are being rolled out at Caesars’ Las Vegas properties. Also, Caesars restaurants are serving special meals that may enhance brain health, so when you sit down to do your brain health check-up, grab a bite of brain food.
To use the website to test how healthy you are living for your brain, you simply login and answer questions such as “On average, how many servings of fruit and vegetables do you eat each day?” The questions cover six key pillars of brain health: physical exercise, medical health, sleep & relaxation, social interaction, mental fitness and food & nutrition. After you answer the questions you’ll receive a customized report telling you how you scored and how to improve your overall brain health.
“There is so much that people can do in their day-to-day life that is within their control,” said Dr. Kate Zhong, Senior Director of Clinical Research at the Lou Ruvo Center. “They can change the course, they can reduce the risk, and they can potentially stop or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s and other dementias.”
The Healthy Brains website is so helpful that Caesars wants everyone to know about it. The Las Vegas Region’s HERO team piloted a program to enlist 50 Smart HERO volunteers to be stationed in associate dining rooms across the city, iPad in hand, to teach team members and guests how to complete their brain health check-up. The Smart HEROs will also show users how to opt-in to receive information and join a database for future clinical trials to help the Cleveland Clinic in their mission to participate in the discovery of treatments that prevent, delay or cure all dementias and other neurological diseases.
This method of discovering who is interested in participating in a clinical trial allows researchers to easily engage, with the click of a mouse, those interested in participating in a study and determine if they are a possible candidate. “At any given time I could know that there are 4,000 people in the community who have told us, ‘Yes, I’m interested, please sign me up,’” said Dr. Zhong. “This will allow us to be much more proactive, to be much more efficient, and to reach out to those people who are willing and ready to be involved.” Currently the Lou Ruvo Center has 20 on-going clinical trials and needs numerous participants, both healthy and those with neurological diseases.
“Today’s efforts to share the Healthy Brains website and app are just the beginning,” says Carolyn Wheeler, the Assistant Director of Internal Communications. If the Smart HEROs pilot program goes well in Las Vegas, she anticipates it will be rolled out enterprise wide. She also expects Smart HEROs will start sharing the Healthy Brains website and be able to reach out to more people in the community by attending events that Caesars supports like diversity parade such as the Pride Parade and Aloha Festival and community walks like Walk for Wishes where Caesars Foundation was the presenting sponsor.
“It’s always been in our DNA to support those who are aging, and those who need care later on in life whether that be through food or support or just having someone to be there to talk to,” said Matt Krystofiak, Caesars Regional Vice President of Human Resources.
Happy Healthy Brains Day!