8 Memory and Brain Exercises for Seniors
While age is just a number, there are certain things about getting older that are unavoidable. One of the most common complaints among seniors is memory loss and decreased cognitive function. While some mental decline can be chalked up to normal aging, others might have more serious health concerns at play, such as dementia or Alzheimer's disease. Fortunately, there are several memory and brain exercises that your aging loved one can incorporate into their daily routine to help keep their mind active and functioning at its best. Here are just a few:
1. Crosswords, Word Searches, and Other Puzzles
Whether it's a daily crossword or Sudoku puzzle or simply trying to get through an entire book of word search games, incorporating these types of activities into your loved one's day provides a great mental challenge.
Puzzles like this can help sharpen cognitive function by focusing intently on specific tasks and problem-solving while also reinforcing memory.
2. Brain Teasers Such as Chess, Scrabble, and Trivial Pursuit as Memory and Brain Exercises for Seniors
Brain games like these provide an excellent way to challenge a senior's mind by forcing them to think strategically. They also help with critical thinking skills and help delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease through continuous play.
3. Note Taking and Mind Mapping
While it might sound simple, taking time to make notes on daily activities, events, or conversations can help jog memory and reinforce learning. Additionally, mind mapping is an excellent way to compile information, sort out thoughts and ideas in priority, and serve as a great organizational tool.
4. Physical Activities
Not only is exercise great for a senior's overall physical health, but it has also been shown to be beneficial for your mental health as well. In fact, according to a study by NCBI, regular aerobic exercise can help improve cognitive function and memory in seniors.
5. Language Exercises
Whether it's learning a language or simply trying to remember new words and phrases, this is an excellent way to exercise many different parts of the brain at once. Learning new things can expand vocabulary and make it easier to hold conversations with others. It can also help delay the onset of dementia.
6. Memory and Brain Exercises
There are several memory and brain exercises that seniors can do on their own or with the assistance of a caregiver. They include:
- Loci: This is visualizing a familiar place in your mind before placing objects that you need to remember along with different points in that path.
- Roman room method: You visualize a room in your house and place objects that you need to remember along with different points of that room.
While the exercises above are just a few suggestions, they provide a great starting point for helping to keep your memory and cognitive function sharp.
7. Having a Conversation
One of the best ways to keep the mind active is simply by talking with other people. Whether it's a conversation with a spouse, friends, or family members, talking helps to keep the mind active by providing new information and stimulation.
8. Listening to Music
Many seniors enjoy listening to music because it stimulates brain waves commonly associated with relaxation. But research has also shown that playing an instrument or singing can also improve memory and cognitive function.
One study showed that seniors who played an instrument or sang regularly for at least six months significantly improved their cognitive test scores.
While everyone's needs vary, trying out a few different activities and seeing what works best for you is the best way to ensure that your mind stays sharp.
Benefits of Implementing Memory and Brain Exercises as Part of Seniors' Routine
- It can help to delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer's Disease.
- Engaging in mentally stimulating activities regularly can help improve cognitive function and memory.
- It can help to improve focus. This is especially beneficial for seniors who are prone to wandering off task or getting easily sidetracked.
- Incorporating puzzles, outdoor walks, reading, and board games into your day can also help to improve socialization. This is important for seniors, as socialization has been linked with reducing the risk of developing Alzheimer's disease.
- Many seniors find that they have more energy and enthusiasm for life when they incorporate memory and brain exercises into their routine.
- These activities help to keep the mind active and engaged, which can lead to a more positive outlook on life.
How a Home Health Aide Can Assist With Memory and Brain Exercises for Seniors
A home health aide can assist your loved one in completing memory and cognitive exercises such as puzzles, games, and reading if needed. The goal of a home health aide is to help seniors live independently and safely at home. These professionals can provide various health and safety services in the home. They can also help seniors maintain their independence by providing assistance with daily activities that may have become difficult or impossible to complete without help.
If you are interested in hiring a home health aide for your loved one, Elite Home Health Care can help. We are a home health care agency that has successfully helped seniors remain independent and in their homes. With our services, you can rest assured that our experienced professionals will provide the help and support that your loved one needs to stay healthy and happy. For more information, visit our website or contact us.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain managemnet and internal medicine. She oversees allpatient services across Elite's departments.