HABIT® Program

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HABIT Healthy Action to Benefit Independence & Thinking® at Gaylord

Gaylord Specialty Healthcare offers a 10-day brain and body wellness program for people living with mild cognitive impairment (MCI). HABIT Healthy Action to Benefit Independence & Thinking® was developed at the Mayo Clinic and is for individuals who have recently (within one year) received an MCI diagnosis, and a partner, to learn skills for maintaining independence despite memory problems, improving self-esteem, and coping with the emotions that arise with the uncertainty that comes with a diagnosis of MCI.

Program Focus and Components

The program focuses on adjustment to the diagnosis of MCI, adaptation to cognitive and functional limitations, brain wellness education, physical and cognitive exercise, and stress/emotional management.

HABIT is a 10-day program, administered for two consecutive weeks (Monday to Friday). Participants and a partner will attend five components each day that include memory compensation training, cognitive exercises, yoga, wellness education, and a support group. 

HABIT Program Summary PDF

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HABIT is a 10-day program to support individuals with a recent diagnosis of MCI to learn the best skills for maintaining independence. The program focuses on adjustment to the diagnosis of MCI, adaptation to cognitive and functional limitations, brain wellness education, physical and cognitive exercise, and stress/emotional management.

HABIT does not aim to cure MCI but, rather, to provide the tools to help cope and combat memory loss. The program builds on existing strengths and recognizes that procedural memory, also known as “habit memory,” can be used to promote the highest level of function and independence.

The program is held for two consecutive weeks (Monday to Friday) and each participant and their partner attend five components each day.  

The HABIT program was developed for people recently (under 1 year) diagnosed with amnestic MCI from a possible underlying neurodegenerative condition within the last year. The program is developed to benefit individuals with MCI, as well as, their partners/caregivers. It is important to note that all participants must have a partner to participate which can be a spouse, sibling or friend.

HABIT is a 10-day program, administered for two consecutive weeks (Monday to Friday from 9:00 a.m. to 3:00 p.m). Participants will work with a multidisciplinary team made up of neuropsychologists, social workers, speech-language pathologists and certified yoga instructors in a group-based program.  Participants and a partner will attend five components each day, including:

  • Memory Compensation Training
  • Cognitive Exercise
  • Yoga
  • Wellness Education Series
  • Support Group
  1. Memory Compensation Training
    The HABIT memory compensation training involves learning to write things down – appointments, to dos, notes – in an organized way. Research shows that when a someone starts to experience the symptoms of MCI, they need compensatory strategies that are always available to help remember important information, such as appointments, medications and upcoming events.
  2. Cognitive Exercise
    In the HABIT program, participants are introduced to computerized cognitive exercises that help concentration and thinking speed. Staying cognitively active and ‘exercising’ the brain helps to maintain, and even improve, cognition.
  3. Yoga
    Physical exercise is beneficial for physical health, heart health, brain health and emotional well-being. In the HABIT program, participants are encouraged to begin a regular physical exercise routine. Managing stress is also beneficial to maximizing memory and thinking skills. During HABIT, participants will learn gentle chair-based yoga, to combine both the benefits of exercise and relaxation.
  4.  Wellness Education Series
    The goal of the Wellness Education Series is :
    a) to provide up to date information about various topics of importance in MCI, including nutrition, sleep, future planning, and emotional health.
    b) to help participants make healthy lifestyle changes to help them thrive in spite of memory loss.
  5. Support Group
    An MCI diagnosis affects both the diagnosed individual, as well as their support system. In HABIT, separate support groups are established for participants and their partners. Support Groups are a safe place to talk about things such as, “what does the future hold?” “How do I maintain a balance of safety and independence?” “How can I be a better partner?” or “When do I share this diagnosis with others?”

The HABIT program at Gaylord is made possible by the contributions of many experts, including neuropsychologists, a licensed clinical social worker, speech and language pathologists, certified yoga instructors, and additional support staff. 

Gaylord Clinical Neuropsychologist Bethanie Stephens, PsyD, was trained by the Mayo Clinic about HABIT and is leading the program held on Gaylord's Wallingford campus. Gaylord Specialty Healthcare has become the first healthcare system offering the HABIT program in the North East.

$2,400 is the total cost for the person with MCI and their caregiver/support person. Medicare or other health Insurance will not cover this cost. In addition to the clinical services offered this fee also: 

  • covers the costs of 10 days of training and support for 6 hours each day.

  • includes take-home resources for participants and caregivers.

  • offers a scientifically based-nutrition program.

  • provides computerized brain training (Brain HQ) access tied to email with the first month covered by the program fee.

  • includes the use of an iPad or tablet throughout the program.

If you are interested in the program fill out the online form and our Neuropsychology Department will reach out to you.


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