Anatomically, the brain isn’t a muscle. Nonetheless, it still needs regular “exercise” to remain healthy. This is especially true for older adults already affected by age-related changes, some of which can impact cognitive capabilities like memory, comprehension, and thought processing. If you have an older loved one in your life, here are seven of the best mental exercises that tend to be beneficial for seniors.
1. Word Games
Word games are often referred to as “brainteasers” because they stimulate multiple parts of the brain in a way that enhances memory, recall, and thinking patterns and processes. Sudoku, crosswords, jigsaw puzzles, and online, app-based, or traditional word searches are some of the many possibilities with word games for older adults.
A home caregiver can be a terrific game-playing companion for your loved one. At-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.
2. Brain Training Apps
Older adults can use easily accessible brain training apps when they’re bored or on long car rides to get a much-appreciated memory boost. Some apps, such as Elevate, present brain exercises that help with mental focus and speed along with memory. Left vs. Right: Brain Games is another popular choice because it includes tools that enhance reasoning, adaptability, awareness, precision, and other mental skills.
3. Regular Physical Exercise
Physical exercise boosts brain activity by increasing the circulation of nutrient-rich blood, which is good for aging brain cells and the nerve impulses that transmit key information. Exercise, such as walking, yoga, and water-based activities, also has the potential to help with mental function by:
• Promoting relaxation
• Strengthening the mind-body connection
• Enhancing focus and clarity
4. Cooking Classes
Whether online or in person, cooking classes can be mentally beneficial for older adults because of the potential to learn how to implement and enjoy healthy cooking methods involving nutrient-rich, brain-friendly foods. The simple act of cooking also gives seniors the opportunity to hone the planning and thinking skills required to follow recipes and complete the cooking process.
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 elder care. San Antonio 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.
The National Institutes of Health references a study suggesting vitamin D deficiencies could affect neurological systems beneficial for the brain. Gardening gives older adults a chance to get outside and soak up some vital vitamin D from the sun. Seniors can also grow and tend gardens with green leafy veggies or ginger and other spices with known brain health benefits.
6. Music-Based Activities
A UC Irvine study found music may enhance the memory of seniors living with forms of dementia such as Alzheimer’s. Other studies suggest music stimulates the brain’s reward system and increases the triggering of the electrical impulses that keep all parts of the brain working well together. Older adults can mentally stimulate their brains with music-based activities that include:
• Learning new songs
• Playing musical instruments
• Playing music-based games based on popular tunes from their generation
7. Hobbies & Crafts
Activities of this nature help older adults flex their mental muscles by keeping the brain focused and engaged. For instance, art-focused crafts enhance mental focus by drawing on the brain’s ability to create meaning and form patterns. This is also true of hobbies that might include stamp collecting, building useful things out of wood, and scrapbooking.
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 24-hour care. San Antonio, TX, 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. For more information about our flexible, customizable home care plans, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (210) 495-6300.