Monday, October 30, 2006

AARP: Working to Keep Our Brains Fit


Since our company, Quixit, Inc., is located in the Bay Area and the AARP convention was in Anaheim, California, we decided that we should showcase our newly relaunched www.HappyNeuron.com there. After all, brain health and fitness should be of interest to AARP members, especially games that are fun to play and promote wellness. We worked hard to get our booth, signage, and handouts ready and rolled into Anaheim ready to share our enthusiasm. After 10 hours a day of standing in front of the huge video monitor we rented for our small booth, with postcards and posters in our hands (like the one above), and our 30-second pitch primed to perfection, three of us met the oncoming hordes of men and women strolling the many exhibitor aisles of the huge convention hall.

"Interested in games? Interested in having a fit brain?" we asked endlessly. Most people said yes (of course) and many zoomed down the aisle directly to us. They were familiar with the challenge and wanted to know what they could do.

A few just walked by. One in particular was memorable. He walked quickly by. "I still work," he said.

"Great," I said, "what do you do?"

"I can't tell you," he said.

"Why?"

"Because if I do, I'll have to kill you."

Hmm.m.m. A bit unexpected at the AARP convention.

The theme was "life@50+." So, how do we feel about our AARP exhibitor experience? We are all energized by the enthusiastic reception we received but our brains are fried, our feet are permanently sore, and I want to burn the shoes I wore. It was fun to talk to so many nice folks from all over the US interested in continuing to learn and keeping their brains fit and healthy. Many people had already researched the "use it or lose it" approach to brain fitness. And they wanted to know what to do about it. What is really beyond crossword puzzles, they asked?

Our booth was located just across the aisle from the Nintendo folks who showcased their "BrainAge" software for the Nintendo DS and their Wii suite of games, including bowling, tennis, baseball, golf, and other sports. It was great to take a break every now and then and hit a few tennis serves. Nice people, too, at the Nintendo booth.

I must admit that I had never considered attending an AARP convention before this one. So I was surprised at its size (22,000+), the range for high-quality offerings (Bill Cosby, Maya Angelou, Geena Davis, Don Rather, Connie Chung, etc. as speakers and lesser known but expert speakers on all kinds of tantalizing topics), the friendliness of the staff, the 60s live music in corners around the convention hall and outside, and the high level of interest in brain fitness. And the really nice AARP members who were there.

According to the AARP literature, the average age of the attendees has fallen from 72 about five years ago to about 60. There goes that Baby Boomer effect again! Next year, it will probably be in the high 50s and falling.

I would definitely go to another one. And by the way, next year's will be in Boston.

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1 comment:

Rob said...

Thank goodness there are many baby boomers I had the pleasure to meet that are staying active physically, as well as mentally. Physical health and mental health go together because both are maintained with appropriate challenges and improved blood flow.
Rob Tworek, PT
www.officecoachplus.com