As we age, our cognition can sometimes decline. The problem with this is that it makes living independently that much more difficult. While certain conditions like Alzheimer’s or dementia are not completely understood or in our control, there are certain things we understand about cognitive abilities. One is that, the more you use them, the healthier they remain. Whether you are aging yourself or caring for an elderly individual, here are some brain boosting activities to incorporate into your daily schedule.
Engaging in meaningful conversation as often as possible is one of the most important things you can do to protect your brain. Seniors sometimes have a difficult time with this because, as they age, they often withdraw from social interactions. They may be home bound because of a medical condition, or they may live further from friends and family.
It’s important to engage your aging loved ones in conversation as often as possible. Face to face is best, but using a program like Skype or even talking on the phone can also help. Ask them how their day is, and use open ended questions to encourage more than one word answers. If you can’t be there in person to engage in meaningful conversation, ask a friend or member of your spiritual house of worship to stop in regularly. Or, consider hiring an in home caregiver to provide support.
Another way to boost cognition is to slightly change up everyday activities. Use the opposite hand to brush your teeth or write your name. Take a slightly different route on your morning walk. Put your pots and pans away in a different drawer, forcing yourself to look for them there later. This engages the brain in a different way and helps to prevent everyday tasks from feeling so routine, thereby, boosting cognition.
Learning a new hobby or crafting is another fantastic way to help your aging loved one’s brain to remain sharp and healthy. Anything from painting a picture to doing a puzzle or learning a new language is an excellent choice. Many hobbies help to keep fine motor skills well developed and can encourage improvements in hand eye coordination too. If your loved one has a physical limitation such as arthritis, make sure support is available. Many senior centers offer activities like this, and a bonus is that the seniors socialize while they’re learning a new skill.
Keeping the mind engaged is so important as we age. Take the time to ensure your aging loved one is actively engaging in conversation and beneficial activities. Encourage them to learn a new hobby, and ask friends and family members to do the same. A home care provider like Salus Homecare San Diego can also incorporate these types of activities into the plan of care. Ask about this during your complimentary consultation with us.