Swedish hosts inaugural Healthy Aging Summit

On May 19, Providence Swedish hosted its first-ever Healthy Aging Summit at Seattle’s Greenwood Senior Center. The event was presented by the Swedish Center for Healthy Aging, which is part of the Swedish Neuroscience Institute.

Nancy Isenberg, M.D., leader of the Swedish's Center for Healthy Aging and Women’s Brain Health Program, welcomed nearly 100 attendees to the day-long series of events and activities centered around the maintenance and improvement of our neurological, mental and physical health as we get older.

“This is really about our own health, our collective health and the health of our planet,” Dr. Isenberg said in her welcoming remarks. “We want our healthiest lifespan and brain span, so we can all age well.”

Dr. Isenberg also gave a presentation about the prevalence of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, noting that some 6 million people in the United States have been diagnosed with some form of dementia, with that number expected to double in the next 2 decades. Dr. Isenberg noted that Washington State alone is projected to have a 25% increase in dementia cases by 2025.

Among the main neuroprotective practices Dr. Isenberg highlighted were stress management, diet, exercise and socialization.

“This ‘stress prescription’ for our complex ecosystems works together to support our well-being,” she said.

Watch video: Highlights from Swedish's May 19 Summit for Healthy Aging

Featured speakers included Center for Healthy Aging clinicians Emma Dotson, DNP, ARNP, a nurse practitioner who specializes in cognitive neurology and Ariana Tart-Zelvin, PhD, a neuropsychologist specializing in neuroplasticity. Dr. Dotson discussed the numerous health benefits of positive psychology, including immune system improvement, longevity promotion and even dementia prevention. Dr. Dotson also led an exercise in using positive sensations to disrupt the brain’s habituation to negative and anxious thoughts.

“A positive mindset can rewire our brain,” she said. “There is a saying that ‘neurons that fire together wire together’.”

Dr. Tart-Zelvin’s talk centered on the brain’s adaptability over time and practices to significantly preserve or improve neuronal connections and slow the neurodegeneration that comes with aging.

At center, left to right: Dr. Ariana Tart-Zelvin, Dr. Nancy Isenberg and Dr. Emma Dotson, with Swedish staffers at inaugural Healthy Aging Summit.  

The day's keynote speaker, artist Dianne Kornberg shared how aging has freed her creative process and allowed her to press the boundaries of her own work and in collaborations with other artists. In addition to educational talks, attendees also participated in chair yoga, music therapy, painting and crafts. Organizers stressed the importance of these activities and those like them in maintaining brain health.

The event was supported by numerous community partners, including the Swedish Foundation, the Alzheimer’s Association and the YMCA.

Learn more and find a provider

If you are interested in the Women’s Brain Health Program you must get an authorized referral from a primary care provider or a specialist. If you have a confirmed diagnosis of either dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, ask your provider to refer you to Swedish’s Center for Healthy Aging, which is located at our Cherry Hill Campus. For more information about services and programs, call 206-320-7200.

With Swedish Virtual Care, you can connect face-to-face with a nurse practitioner who can review your family and health history. To find a provider, try searching our provider directory.

Join our Patient and Family Advisory Council.

Related resources

Innovative program empowers women to strengthen brain health

5 tips to reduce “meno-fog”

Want to stay in your home as you age? Planning and healthy habits can help.


This information is not intended as a substitute for professional medical care. Always follow your health care professional’s instructions.


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About the Author

From deep brain stimulation to focused ultrasound to pediatric neurology, The Swedish Neuroscience Team is recognized as national experts to help people address a wide array of neurological conditions. Our goal is to provide useful and helpful advice and tips on non-surgical and surgical options to treat any disease of the mind.

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