Much like the muscles in our bodies, the brain too thrives on being used. The more you use it, the better it works and this does not stand any less true when you’re hitting your older years.
At the same time, age and aging as with the rest of our bodies can do a number on our minds. As reason would dictate, again, like with the rest of our bodies, there are certain things we can do to help ensure our minds function well and stay healthy.
Keeping Your Seniors Mind Active
We’re going to go over a number of tips and pointers that should help you or the senior in your life keep their mind well, active and healthy.
Reading stimulates the mind in way that cannot be replaced by other activities such as watching TV for instance. Reading can reduce a senior’s chances of developing a case of full blown dementia by up to 50%.
If reading is not something of interest, space it out and read a little over the course of the whole day. Anything from fiction to historical accounts will do.
Puzzles or Games
Puzzles such as Sudoku, crosswords and other such intellectually stimulating leisure activities actually do wonders for the mind. Solving a few of these on a daily basis is a sure way to keep that aging mind active and healthy.
Alternatively, even playing children’s board games (like with your grand-children for instance), making table puzzles and partaking in games such as chess and checkers are great for the mind
You might be surprised to learn this but according to numerous studies as well as a Harvard University publication, physical exercise is known to improve memory and strengthen mental prowess. The best part is as little as 30 minutes of daily exercise is enough to serve the purpose. Among suggested forms include walking, yoga and anything else that can help you break a sweat without putting too much of a strain on your bones.
Learning a New Skill
It doesn’t matter if you pick up an instrument or take up woodwork, pottery or origami. Learning a new skill forges new and fresh neural connections in the brain. This keeps the brain, fresh, healthy, active and engaged. Even better, if you’re retired, the new skill you acquire will help you bide time.
Learning an instrument is particularly helpful as research suggests it allows for both sensory and motor improvement in seniors as well as areas of the brain concerned with the same.
Healthy and Balanced Diet
The food you eat does contribute to how your body functions. Adhering to a healthy and balanced diet is important for physical health reasons but it is just as important for healthy brain function. Lean protein, greens (darker ones particularly), foods such as nuts and of course an adequate mineral intake is key.
On the flip side, high levels of cholesterol have been found to coincide with incidents of Alzheimer’s hence fatty foods and those high in cholesterol are best avoided.
Writing with your own hands is known to improve memory. It is also, according to studies published beneficial for those parts of the brain associated with though as well as those associated with language. It doesn’t matter if you pen daily activities, memoirs from your younger days or poems and limericks for your grand children. Make writing with your hands a part of your daily schedule.
Adequate sleep is what allows for all your efforts to come to fruition. You need just as much sleep (if not more) in your old age than you would at any other time of your life. Don’t fall short on your sleep hours and make sure you get adequate time to rest and recover at the end of every day.
If you feel you have the energy and resources, and feel like there is something you would have enjoyed but didn’t get to study when you were younger, take up an adult learning course. You have numerous courses available to adults and seniors who wish to pursue further education later in life when they have more time on their hands.
Again, learning keeps that brain in shape.
Though there are some of us who value peace and space in our older years, it is advisable to engage with others on a regular basis. You could have your family over for a meal every now and then or simply go for evening strolls with one of your neighbors. Human interaction is important to keep the parts of your brain associated with socializing functional and active.
The more active you keep the brain, the better off it will be health wise. Further, in doing so, you reduce your chances of developing degenerative illnesses of the brain exponentially. As they say, you only really get old when you give in so keep that brain active and you’ll be doing yourself a huge favor!