Staying Sharp Review – AARP

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.

Staying Sharp User Privacy Issues

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.

Second, the Staying Sharp website privacy policy avoids any mention of how this unique, personally identifiable health information and cognitive test result data will be used by AARP. For example, will a user’s cognitive test results be shared or sold to third parties? Will AARP honor HIPAA security and privacy rules related to personal health information (PHI)? The Staying Sharp privacy policy is conspicuously silent on these matters.

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Instead, the Staying Sharp website provides a series of clunky, very outdated brain training games from Happy Neuron, a struggling French technology firm.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 Cost

Monthly subscription for $5.99. Annual subscription for $35.99.

Bottom Line on Staying Sharp

Save your money until AARP comes up with a more compelling offering, and also clearly explains ownership rights and protection of personal health information and cognitive assessment data in its privacy policy.

Readers can also try these free working memory tests and short term memory tests, and save your scores to track memory performance.

Another brain training site to consider is MindSparke’s Brain Fitness Program.

Staying Sharp User Comments

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