While physical exercise is absolutely essential for seniors, mental exercise is just as important. Mentally focused exercises can reduce the risk of accelerating age-related changes that tend to affect aging brains. According to one estimate, it may be possible to gain nearly 15 extra years of “cognitive youth” with regular mental exercises, including the ones considered ideal for seniors discussed below.
Mental exercises can be both rewarding and fun at the same time. This is certainly true of puzzles, which can boost mental health and promote relaxation. Puzzles also help with various cognitive processes, including rational thinking and logic. From Sudoku and traditional jigsaw puzzles to crosswords and online puzzles, the possibilities are plentiful with puzzles.
Making Arts & Crafts
Creating things with the hands can be mentally stimulating as well. This is because the act of putting together crafts into meaningful patterns or creating various forms of artistic expression stimulates multiple parts of the brain at the same time. Arts and crafts projects can also boost mood, build confidence, and even enhance short-term memory when there’s a need to recall patterns or put creative ideas in logical order.
Listening to or Playing Music
Music has the power to evoke emotions, increase attention span, and enhance alertness. Two studies referenced by Harvard Health suggest music may boost memory skills as well. This happens as stored memories are retrieved, such as what might happen when seniors recall fond memories related to favorite songs. Certain music-related activities, such as participating in group singalongs and learning to play a musical instrument, can also help the brain create entirely new memories.
Cooking, Baking, & Eating
These food-related activities can be mentally stimulating for several reasons. First, the ingredients used can include fruits, vegetables, lean proteins, and various herbs and spices that are good for an aging brain. Second, cooking, baking, and eating can be social activities enjoyed with other seniors and family members, which allows for plenty of feel-good moments. Lastly, preparing food is a fun way for seniors to put their recollection skills to the test as they remember the steps involved and what ingredients to include.
If your loved one needs help to safely use kitchen utensils and appliances, a home caregiver can be an ideal choice. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of home care. Prescott families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Playing Memory-Based Games
Another fun and engaging way for seniors to mentally exercise is by playing games specifically designed to sharpen cognitive skills. Options include matching and trivia games for seniors that focus on familiar things from their generations. Brain-training apps such as Lumosity and Brain Fitness Pro can provide similar benefits. Plus, they can be played during times when a senior would normally have nothing much to do, such as when waiting in a doctor’s office or on a long car ride.
A home caregiver can be a terrific game-playing companion for your loved one. In-home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy.
Writing, whether it’s in the form of letters to friends and family members or a journal where private thoughts are expressed or daily memories are jotted down, stimulates brain cells and boosts memory. The abilities needed to write also boost mental clarity and focus. Writing may also involve equally beneficial tasks such as making handwritten cards or creative endeavors such as writing poetry or short stories.
A professional caregiver with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can help your loved one strengthen his or her mental skills. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Prescott, AZ, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Schedule a free in-home consultation by giving us a call today at (928) 771-0105.