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7 Strategies for Keeping an Elderly Brain Active

By Debbie Nunn, 9:00 am on

Cognitive impairment isn’t part of the natural aging process. However, to maintain optimal brain function, older adults must routinely exercise their mental abilities. There are a number of ways to keep cognitive ability healthy regardless of age.

1. Exercise

The brain cannot function properly without being supplied with sufficient oxygen and nutrient-rich blood. Keeping the cardiovascular system healthy helps the brain stay healthy too. Aerobic exercise strengthens the heart and reduces the chance of cardiovascular disease processes. This way, the brain continually receives the nutrition needed to function. Seniors should consider getting some type of physical activity for 30 minutes up to five times a week. 

Getting regular exercise can help seniors stave off Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Alzheimer’s can be challenging for seniors to manage without assistance, and it can be just as challenging for families who don’t have experience in providing Alzheimer’s care. Clarksville, TN, Home Care Assistance provides Alzheimer’s care seniors and their families can depend on. Our proprietary Cognitive Therapeutics Method was designed to help seniors with Alzheimer’s and other memory-related conditions live happier and healthier lives.

2. Continue Learning

Seniors who make a point of challenging their brain by learning something new engage multiple cognitive regions. During the learning process, people stimulate the visual, memory, reasoning, and problem-solving areas of the brain. Any physical activity required to write or perform some type of action stimulates the brain that much further. Older adults might want to consider starting a new hobby. For instance, they could take a college class in a subject that interests them, learn a new skill, or hone an existing talent.

3. Read

A study performed by researchers from the Mayo Clinic found that reading stimulates many regions of the brain. The mind formulates mental pictures while reading. Problem-solving skills come into play when attempting to determine the outcome of a story or a topic. Reading a book or magazine for up to 30 minutes daily has the potential of reducing the chance of cognitive impairment by 50 percent.

4. Play Games

According to an article published in the Archives of Neurology, games are healthy for the senior mind. Playing a board or card game with friends or family members or working puzzles stimulates creativity, decision-making and problem-solving centers along with memory. The visual center is triggered when moving a game piece or filling in a puzzle. Indulging in a video game also stimulates the brain by learning something new.

Consider hiring a professional in-home caregiver to spend time with your loved one and participate in mentally stimulating activities together. Families looking for top-rated senior home care providers can reach out to Home Care Assistance. From respite care to specialized Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care, there are many ways we can make life easier for seniors and their loved ones.

5. Play Music

Playing any type of musical instrument for one hour each week has been shown to enhance hearing, memory, and fine motor skills. Some seniors have the ability to play an instrument. To others, the skill might be something new. In any event, the activity is fun, fulfilling, and cognitively healthy.

6. Get Sufficient Sleep

Regardless of age, seniors need seven to nine hours of restful sleep each night. Researchers published an article in the Journal of Neuroscience explaining that the brain needs sleep to form short-term memories. Physical discomfort or a serious medical condition may impede a good night’s rest.

7. Stay Social

Regularly meeting with family members or friends is vital for maintaining cognitive health. An article published in a 2012 issue of Experimental Gerontology reported that having social relationships heals cognitive ability and helps people maintain mental health. 

Regularly stimulating the brain can make it easier and safer to age in place. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Clarksville families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts. Reach out to us today at (931) 218-2781 to find out how we can provide the assistance your loved one needs and deserves.

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