Thanks for the memories: Linda Mogicato Sasser ’75 gives people’s brain function a boost
Memory health and cognitive function are the focus of Linda Mogicato Sasser ’75 of Bloomingdale, Illinois, and she now is in her second year of running her business, Brain and Memory Health. She speaks and leads workshops about memory health and cognitive function at marketing events and residential retirement communities.
After graduation from Ripon College, Sasser attended the University of Colorado where she completed her doctoral dissertation on the topic of memory. She then taught cognitive and educational psychology at both Judson University and Wheaton College.
“During the early 2000s, I began studying the research on cognitive aging to learn how memory and other cognitive functions change with normal aging and what people could do to either slow or prevent cognitive decline,” Sasser says. “This led to the creation of my business.”
“For my sabbatical research, I conducted a nationwide survey on brain health to learn what people know or need to know about this topic. Based on needs identified by the survey responses, I decided to focus my business on offering educational programs and training on topics related to brain health and memory, including such things as understanding and improving memory, emotional intelligence, brain gender differences, and creativity and problem-solving.”
Among her services are speaking for libraries, serving as consultant to the Windsor Park Retirement Community’s Lifelong Learning Center and offering professional development workshops for healthcare professionals for continuing education unit credit, which helps professionals maintain their licenses.
Her favorite service, she says, is her “Healthy Brain, Healthy Memory” program about lifestyle choices that affect brain health and her unique “PAVE” method for better remembering things like names or tasks.
“My workshop, ‘Thanks for Your Memories: An Introduction to Writing Memoir,’ is also popular, since many people would like to learn how to leave a legacy for their children and grandchildren,” Sasser says.
Sasser teaches her “Brain Enrichment Course” at retirement communities, aimed at helping aging people prevent cognitive decline. “Some research also shows that amnestic Mild Cognitive Impairment, aMCI, which involves memory problems more severe than one’s age peers but which do not interfere with Activities of Daily Living, ADLs, can be reversed or at least slowed by brain enrichment activities,” Sassar says.
She explains that the memories of aging people aren’t as bad as many think they are. “Research shows that negative stereotypes of aging contribute to expectations of poorer memory,” she says. “Participants in my course say that they have benefited not only by learning and using attention and memory strategies, but by taking a more proactive approach with their cognitive functions. ”
Sasser travels across the country for her work, which she finds very rewarding. “People are very encouraging and appreciative of learning what they need to be doing to maintain brain health and strategies for keeping their memory sharp,” she says. “My philosophy is that each of us only has one brain, so we need to do all we can to keep it functioning as well as possible. I believe my work helps and motivates people to either continue doing the right things or make changes that will improve their lives.”
Sasser hopes to publish a book about her work, as well as package and market her Brain Enrichment course with a train-the-trainer workshop so her course can be taught at multiple retirement communities. She plans to continue her career as a speaker as well. Visit her website.
Megan Sohr ’18