It almost takes the patience of Job to answer the same question your aging parents ask over and over again. But when it comes down to it, they literally forget they just asked you. Many of the adult children whose parents live here routinely ask about their parents’ forgetfulness. We respond that it is very common with older adults but that there are activities that help stimulate their brains. Even though they won’t suddenly remember the entire Preamble to the US Constitution, they may become slightly sharper.
- Exercise. Regular exercise seems to be the first suggestion as a remedy to help alleviate symptoms of chronic conditions. But when you have something that works and tons of science to back it up, there is no reason not to do it. Whether walking or participating in an exercise class, regular daily exercise does a world of good with stimulating the brain.
- Take a Class. Taking a class is an excellent way to keep our parents’ brains engaged. Many senior living communities offer classes that teach different hobbies or provide a series of lectures on a specific topic.
- Keep a Journal. Our aging parents are full of stories and anecdotes that we never sometimes know took place. Even though their day to day lives may seem a little monotonous, they think about a lot and have so much to say. The thing is that they may have something they want to tell us about but forget in the blink of an eye. Keeping a journal is a great way to keep that brain of theirs sharp as a tack not to mention important details there for us to know. And, with the stuff that goes on in senior living communities, a journal may also be pure entertainment.
- Play Games. It really does not matter what kind of game – puzzles, card games, Sodoku, Word Search, or Crosswords – playing games is the best way to stimulate the brain. Games like these force us to think and figure things out; card games typically involve social interaction which in and of itself is another great brain stimulant.
- Get Out the Knitting Needles. It does not have to be knitting but arts and crafts always help stimulate the brain. Many activities also help our parents maintain good hand to eye coordination.
- Dance. Nothing makes you feel better than dancing. Senior living communities often have dances just as churches and other clubs do on a regular basis. Unless unable, try to get elderly parents to go to a dance and cut the rug a little. Dancing requires a bit of coordination between the feet and the brain not to mention being a good form of exercise to get the blood moving through the brain.
- Read. Everyone should read – read as much as we can. Reading does more to stimulate the brain to the point that researchers say that it can help prevent future memory loss. One way to boost reading and memory is to participate in a book club where participants read a book then go to a meeting of sorts (social activity) and discuss the book at length.
- Socialize. Socializing is an excellent way to engage the brain by engaging in conversation with others whether at an event or simply sitting down with friends and family on a regular basis.
- Eat Brain-Boosting Foods. Foods high in antioxidants are excellent ways to stimulate the brain. Blueberries, tomatoes, and fish high in Omega-3s are excellent sources of brainpower. When consumed, these foods are excellent ways to prevent memory loss.
Good for Everyone
These activities are probably good for most everyone over the age of 30 (have you ever heard of “mommy brain?). All of them are considered cognitive activities and work to keep brains and memories sharp not mention possibly even help in delaying the onset of dementia.
Rittenhouse Village At Lehigh Valley provides a range of senior living programs to help support a healthy and happy lifestyle for our residents. We also offer several senior living options that include SHINE® Memory Care. Contact us today at 610.433.9220 for more information.