You might think that as our bodies deteriorate with time, so do our minds. But this isn’t always the case. In fact, what’s more common than not is that our brains don’t actually deteriorate—they just get out of shape from lack of exercise. You’ve heard that saying, “if you don’t use it, you lose it?” Well, it’s true.
As senior care specialists in Rockville MD, we here at Comfort Home Care understand the importance of keeping your brain functioning at optimal levels for as long as possible. There is often a direct link between mental capabilities and physical wellbeing. In other words, if an otherwise healthy senior begins to decline mentally, often physical decline is soon to follow.
With that in mind we’ve come up with this list of mental exercises to keep your brain sharp well into your old age.
As if we needed another reason why physical exercise is so important! When you’re up pumping iron—or more likely going on a nice 30 minute walk—your heart isn’t the only thing getting a workout. A wide range of research suggests that physical exercise helps keep your mind moving too. Not only does it help with concentration, but it also helps fight memory loss.
The jury is in. Movement is good for you on all levels.
Put Your Thoughts on Paper (or Computer)
If you haven’t heard, there’s a long running study going on called The Nun Study of Aging and Alzheimer’s Disease. Basically what the study has found so far is that Nuns who wrote better were at a significantly lower risk for developing Alzheimer’s. Now, that may be a bit of an over-simplification of the results thus far, but one thing is for certain: writing is good for you.
Whether you’re putting your thoughts down in a journal and reminiscing on old times, or starting your own blog to share your knowledge and opinion with others like you, the benefits of writing are real.
Memory Card Game
You remember that old game you played as a kid, where you’d turn over pairs of cards looking for matches? Well, it’s not just a kids’ game. Keep your memory in good working order by laying out a deck of cards face down. Turn over two at a time in search of matches. If you don’t find a match, turn them back over, doing your best to remember what card was where. Sure it’s a bit of a frustrating game, but we bet you’ll find that you get better and better at it as you go along.
You know that whole “you can’t teach an old dog new tricks” thing? That’s a bunch of hogwash! Sure you can. No matter how old you are, and even if you are under in-home care, you can still tackle a new subject. And as you learn something new, you’ll find those dendrites growing in your brain, making connections, and causing your mind to run more efficiently. Not to mention, acquiring new skills and knowledge is a great way to stave off boredom!
Spend Some Time on Your Mind
Remember, elder care isn’t all about watching out for your physical wellbeing. Keeping your mind in tip top shape can be a prime deterrent for all sorts of problems. So do yourself a favor and try out some of the activities mentioned above. And if you have a home health aide, ask them to help you by engaging in mental exercises with you, as well as suggesting new ones.
Note: If you are reading this article as a younger or middle-aged adult, it’s never too early to whip that brain into shape. The sooner you start, the better!