Did you know that your brain is a muscle? In some elderly people, memory loss is simply a symptom of not exercising that muscle.
Just as weight training builds up muscles within your body, you can use brain-building exercises to improve your (or your elderly loved ones) memory and cognitive function.
A 2013 study found that people who engage in multiple healthy activities significantly reduce their risk for dementia later in life. Below is a list of seven proven ways to increase your brain power.
- Try Puzzles
Among memory specialists, crossword puzzles and logic puzzles like Sudoku are the best memory exercises for seniors.
Putting together actual jigsaw puzzles is also a powerful way to boost your brain power. They are a fun activity as well!
- Stimulate Your Senses
Using all five senses on a regular basis will keep your brain active and healthy.
Listen to music, diffuse essential oils, and touch soft fabrics.
Test your taste buds. When eating a meal, try to identify the specific ingredients and spices that make up the dish.
This is a great way to test your brain and develop your memory capacity.
- Learn Something New and Complex
Learning a new language is one of the best ways to exercise your brain and improve your memory. Learning how to play an instrument is also an excellent choice.
Taking a cooking class is another great way to expand your knowledge. You can learn to memorize difficult recipes by preparing them multiple times.
- Test Yourself
Get a composition book and use it as a journal to write down daily activities or observations of things that interest you. Go back and read it later and see if you can visualize the events you described or the things you saw. This is a great memory exercise you can do often.
Another way to test your memory is to make lists of things you need to buy the next time you go to the store and then try to remember them a few hours later. Go back and check the list to see how many items you got right.
- Play Games
Playing card, board, and even video games are all great memory exercises for seniors that help boost brain power.
Playing games is especially helpful for the hippocampus and prefrontal cortex. These are areas of the brain where complex thought and memory formation occur. They also reduce the risk of getting mental diseases like dementia or Alzheimer’s.
- Do Some Reading
This simple exercise increases your brains output which opens new areas to memory. This provides greater access to old memory as well. It adds memory capacity without any effort at actual memorization.
Any sort of differentiation from the norm is great for your brain. You can do something as simple as taking a different route home from work or errands to challenge yourself.
Visiting another state or country will definitely open your mind, but so will visiting local attractions like a botanical garden or your city’s museums.
While the above exercises are great for retaining what memory is left, they may not lead to a full recovery in those who are already diagnosed with dementia.
Here at Mary Katherine’s Homes, we offer a place for those who may be ready to enter into assisted living. We know that this is a tough decision for any family to make.
Feel free to contact us with any questions you may have regarded assisted-living care.
Mary Katherine’s Homes offer exceptional resident-centered services, delivered by staff trained to promote independence, allow freedom of choice and protect the privacy of each resident.