BRAINIACS: Focus group members Diane Langens, Lynne Cowen, Gaye Ziebell, Marilyn Cupitt and Lexie Howard.
BRAINIACS: Focus group members Diane Langens, Lynne Cowen, Gaye Ziebell, Marilyn Cupitt and Lexie Howard. Kathy Dumbleton

Brain training program given the big thumbs up

THE Banana Shire Libraries' latest initiative involved a brain training program for women over 55. The 10-week program concluded on June 26 and a brain training graduation ceremony was held for participants at the Biloela library on July 10.

Senior Library and Information Services Advisor Ruth Thompson adopted the idea after a similar program was run at a library in Chinchilla. Ms Thompson said the library often ran programs catering for school children and it was great to offer something to adults in the community.

For an hour every week the participants put their brains to the test in a series of stimulating activities including quizzes, find-a-words, puzzles, Sudoku and brainteasers. With a focus on keeping the brain fit, library assistant Courtney Gould took the ladies through their paces.

"We had timed exercises from two to five minutes each targeting memory, maths and literature,” Ms Gould said.

The program was free thanks to Ms Thompson's successful application for funding from Banana Shire Council, the State Government and the State Library of Queensland.

Through the course of the program the participants not only developed stronger brain power but formed lasting friendships. Participant Lexie Howard enjoyed the program immensely. "It was marvellous. I was nervous to start with - my brain hasn't been to school for a long time,” she said.

Marilyn Cupitt liked the social aspect of the group just as much. "Just as you get older you need to keep the brain stimulated and it was challenging.”

Lynne Cowen appreciated how varied the program was.

Members of the group were excited to receive a graduation certificate and "I trained my brain at the Biloela library'' t-shirt as a memento last Wednesday.

Due to the success of the initiative Banana Shire Libraries will run the program in other Locations.

The next brain training program will be held at Taroom library from October 10 to December 12 on Thursdays from 11am to noon.