Staying Sharp Overview
Staying Sharp is a cognitive assessment and brain training program offered by the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP).
The Staying Sharp program has three main components:
1. An online cognitive assessment: “Brain Health Assessment”
2. Online brain training games
3. Content and articles on brain health
Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment
AARP has outsourced the Staying Sharp Brain Health Assessment to MyBrainSolutions, a company that provides online cognitive assessments for addiction treatment centers and corporate wellness programs.
The MyBrainSolutions assessment is a standardized cognitive test (about 20-30 minutes) that is based on reputable science. The assessment is normed for various age groups, so a 65 year old taking the test will be compared against an average for a similar age group.
Unfortunately, there are two notable drawbacks to the way Staying Sharp has implemented the cognitive assessment. First, the Staying Sharp website uses a common gimmick of inviting new users to share a large amount of their personal health information before taking the cognitive test, and then withholds all test results and reports until the user pays a subscription fee.
Staying Sharp Brain Training Games
For reasons unknown, Staying Sharp doesn’t offer brain training games included from the above MyBrainSolutions offering, or from BrainHQ, a cognitive training company that AARP already has a partnership with.
Instead, the Staying Sharp website provides a series of clunky, very outdated brain training games from Happy Neuron, a struggling French technology firm. This odd choice might be related to low or free licensing cost from Happy Neuron vs. other vendors.
Tip: see this report on the credibility problem with brain training games.
Staying Sharp Brain Health Articles
The Staying Sharp website provides a number of sensible articles on brain health, divided into five categories: nourish(“smoked salmon cracker recipe!”), move (“which exercise is best for helping your brain?”), relax (give your clock an about-face!”), connect (“loneliness is a threat to longevity”), and discover (“spice up your life!”).
Our shameless plug: Signup for research based articles on maintaining a healthy brain. Six emails per year – easy on your inbox.
Staying Sharp Cost
Monthly subscription for $5.99. Annual subscription for $35.99.
Bottom Line on Staying Sharp
Readers can also try these free working memory tests, including a spatial memory test and number span test.