Three Ways for Seniors to Stay Mentally Fit at Home
Chances are, you do not need to be told all about the benefits of physical exercise. You probably already know that regular physical activity is good for your health and can benefit you greatly in the long run.
But did you know that it’s necessary to keep your brain mentally fit and active, too? That’s right, mental exercise is just as important as physical exercise. After all, the mind is like a muscle—and exercising it properly matters.
So, how do we maintain our mental acuity as we age? If you want to keep your senior loved one’s brain healthy and active at home, try implementing some of our favorite mental workouts below.
Word and Number Puzzles and Games
You don’t need to look very hard to find a good critical thinking exercise. Popular games like word searches, Sudoku, and crossword puzzles can provide seniors with the mental exercise they need.
For example, word searches can help seniors improve their reading comprehension and vocabulary. When they’re trying to find words in a puzzle, they have to look at the letters and decide which ones might form part of a longer word. In addition, they may have to think about how certain letters are pronounced or even where in the alphabet those letters appear.
Numeric games are beneficial for brain health, too, as it helps seniors improve their attention span and problem-solving skills.
Not only are these types of games fun and challenging, but they can be found almost anywhere, both in stores and online – so your senior loved one can play work on their mental fitness anytime, anywhere.
Drawing & Music
It is important to engage your brain in critical thinking, but don’t neglect the creative parts of yourself. Both side of the brain need their workout!
If your senior loved one’s creative impulses seem to have been lost during the aging process, you can help them explore the arts—like painting and drawing—and other hobbies that involve creating new things. This will help your senior loved one stay mentally active as well as provide an outlet for their emotions. The combination of these two things can go a long way into keeping them from feeling isolated and lonely.
Music, in addition to creating tangible art, is also known for its positive influence on senior health. It can help seniors with Alzheimer’s and dementia stay focused, relieve stress, and even improve sleep.
You can encourage your loved one to get involved with music by taking them to a concert or musical event—or by playing music while they are in their home. Try playing records, tapes or CDs that they enjoyed when they were younger, and if they are physically able to do so, encourage them to dance!
Turning up the tunes is a fun way to enhance your senior’s mood and emotions, increase their interest levels, and give their communication a boost!
When your senior loved one feels stressed, tired, or overall frustrated, sometimes it’s best to just relax, breathe deeply, and help them open their mind.
Learning to meditate will help them accomplish exactly that!
Meditation is a great way to help your senior loved one fight feelings of depression and anxiety—a problem that is becoming more common in the elderly.
By taking a few minutes each day to recenter themselves, seniors can better work through their thoughts and emotions, freeing their brain of unnecessary “clutter” and improving various cognitive abilities such as memory, focus and concentration.
It’s important to note that meditation is not a quick fix—it takes time and practice! But the benefits of meditating are well worth the effort in the end.
If you are not sure how to help your loved one meditate, we suggest a guided meditation to help them get started. Click here and visit this link for plenty of soothing guided meditations you can try with your senior.
Stay Physically Active
It’s no surprise that regular physical activity enhances cognitive performance.
Regular exercise stimulates the growth of new connections between brain cells, thereby promoting what’s called “brain plasticity”.
That’s why the brains of seniors who exercise regularly tend to be more efficient at processing information. They also have greater attention spans and memory capacity, better problem-solving skills and improved ability to plan for the future.
Encourage your senior loved one to exercise for at least 30 minutes each day. This can be anything from walking around the block to working out at a gym. If he or she has trouble with balance or coordination, start off with low-impact exercises such as swimming or cycling. And don’t forget to have fun with it!
Exercising often pumps oxygen to the brain and can improve your senior loved one’s cognitive skills – for this reason, physical activity should be an important part of any home care plan.
Helping your senior loved one find a sense of purpose is a great way to improve brain and mental functions. It can provide them motivation, a sense of accomplishment, a feeling of usefulness and even improve their self-esteem. Seniors can find purpose in many different ways.
For some people, it may be spending time with family, friends, volunteering at a local charity, or serving as an officer for their local civic association. Volunteer opportunities are everywhere, and they help seniors feel needed and valuable.
Other seniors may enjoy hobbies and activities that provide them with a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment. If your senior loved one had a hobby they used to love, encourage them to get back into it.
If they’re unable to pick up their old hobby, or are interested in learning new skills, you can take them to a class or workshop and enjoy working and creating together!
The key is to find something that they’re passionate about and help them get involved in that activity.
Need more ideas, or help caring for your senior loved one? Feel free to reach out to experts here at Home Care Assistance and schedule a consultation with our team. We have years of experience assisting seniors who need help with their everyday lives, and we’re happy to provide more information on the services we offer.
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