10 Brain-Boosting Activities For Seniors
The more that elderly loved ones engage in mentally stimulating activities, the better the connections between the cells of their brain will be, helping them to retain their mental cognition for much longer. There are a number of opportunities throughout the day for activities allowing elderly loved ones to engage their cognitive functions. Completing tasks fosters a feeling of satisfaction and success, which has proven health benefits in addition to preserving mental health.
Seniors with more complex dementia can also reap the benefits of taking part in gentle and carefully-controlled mentally stimulating activities that help to rekindle memories and provide them with much-needed reassurance.
The key with dementia patients is to focus on the activity itself, not the results. Engaging with activities seems to lessen the anxiety that they are prone to, encouraging quiet and gentle interaction.
Here are our suggestions for ten activities that will stimulate your loved one’s brain and offer other health benefits too, such as a renewed sense of purpose and, in most cases, the opportunity to laugh with friends and family at the same time.
1 – Engage In Meaningful Conversations
Having a chat may seem to be a routine part of the day for many people, but for an older person who may spend many hours of the day alone, spending time chatting with loved ones is integral to their quality of life. Family members can speak with their elderly loved ones about their life, and encourage them to talk about their experiences.
2 – Undertake Craft Projects Or Other Hobbies
Spending time creating something allows for creativity and a chance to utilize a different part of the brain. Creating something by hand can help evoke feelings of self-satisfaction by manufacturing something unique. Whether it’s building model railway sets or making scrapbooks of their life story, engaging in creative arts helps to foster good feelings for the elderly and their loved ones.
3 – Gardening
Spending time outdoors is crucial for seniors to receive the health benefits of being out in the fresh air and exposed to sunlight, which is necessary to supply the body with adequate amounts of Vitamin D.
No matter how mobile your loved one is, they can enjoy pottering in the garden. From the exercise involved in tasks such as weeding a flowerbed to planting a few seedlings in a container, the benefits are profound.
4 – Playing An Instrument
If your elderly relative enjoys music, then playing an instrument might be something that they find particularly inspiring. Whether this is a skill that they have had for many years, or they are a complete beginner, the challenges to their mental and physical dexterity will strengthen neural pathways.
5 – Take Part In Dancing Or Low-Impact Exercise Activities
Keeping active is important for good health, and there are lots of exercise options for today’s seniors. From gentle Tai Chi classes that promote good posture and breathing, to dance lessons aimed at seniors, you’ll find lots of opportunities for your relative to get active in local classes.
6 – Provide A Selection Of Puzzles
Nothing stretches the mind as much as puzzles. Crossword puzzles, word searches and Sudoku games all provide opportunities to stretch the mind and get it working. Find out what types of puzzles are most appealing for your relative, and provide a selection to keep them entertained.
7 – Play Board And Card Games
Most older people will enjoy playing board games, which encourage engagement with other players and require thought and planning, making them excellent mentally stimulating activities. Card games are another old favorite, and dementia patients may enjoy taking part in simple games such as Pairs and Snap.
8 – Have A Baking Day
The smells and sensations that accompany a few hours spent baking can act as a powerful stimulus to promote happy feelings and can even remind older people of days gone by. Find out the types of cakes that they enjoy making – and eating – and stock up on ingredients and equipment, so that you can enjoy a fun and productive time together.
9 – Learn A Language
Learning a new language gets harder as we age, but it’s a brilliant way of forging new mental connections. From brushing up on some long-forgotten French to attempting to learn a whole new language from scratch, you’ll find lots of online resources which make learning fun.
10 – Play Computer Games
Computer games aren’t just for the younger generation. Use online resources to find games aimed at a senior age group, including lots of options for those with dementia too. Your loved one may find that they enjoy interacting with digital technology, particularly if this is something that they have little previous experience of.
If you are looking for a safe, loving place for your elderly loved one, The Neighbors in Menomonie, Wisconsin offers short and long term care with daily physicians on call 24/7.