5 Ways to Keep Your Senior Loved One’s Brain Sharp
Forgetfulness is a normal part of aging. You walk into a room and promptly forget what brought you there, or you space and miss a doctor’s appointment.
And while small memory lapses aren’t cause for concern, the aging process can mean it’s more difficult for older adults to retain knowledge and learn new things.
But you can preserve a large portion of mental function for seniors by regularly engaging their brains and their bodies. This helps decrease the chances of dementia, decrease depression, and keep them living healthier, more active lives for longer.
Here are 5 ways you can help keep your senior loved one’s brain sharp:
Working out isn’t just great for the body; it’s also great for cognitive function and memory.
Regular cardiovascular exercise increases blood flow and oxygen to the brain, helping to battle confusion and “brain fog” while also improving memory.
Helping older adults get 30 minutes of moderate exercise per day is key to helping them maintain proper brain power along with overall health. While some seniors cannot tolerate certain exercises, such as running, high-impact aerobics, or heavy weightlifting, even ensuring that your loved one goes for a walk each day can help clear the mind and improve memory.
If you can enroll your senior loved one in a group exercise program, or find some friends with whom they can get some exercise, the added bonus of the social aspect of exercising can boost the benefits they’ll get from a solo session.
Cooking healthy, well-balanced meals is more than just the food that’s put on the plate.
The act of cooking, which requires planning, adapting, and discernment, gives the brain a miniature workout all while cooking delicious food. And maintaining a healthy diet aids in the increased brain capacity, too.
Have your senior loved one assist you – or handle the job completely – in planning, shopping for, and preparing regular meals. Try out some new recipes if you’re feeling adventurous, or go with tried-and-true favorites from memory.
The act of being creative, no matter the medium, is great exercise for the brain.
Arts and crafts not only exercise the creative side of the brain, but they also assist in making sure planning, skills, and execution are on-point. In addition, art has been shown to reduce stress and decrease symptoms of depression.
Your loved one doesn’t have to be a master artist to see benefits, either. Simply picking up a paintbrush or pencil, knitting a small scarf, or throwing some clay can provide long-term benefits to the brain.
Games of all types are great for brain health, as they require problem-solving from start to finish.
Whether your loved one picks up a book of crosswords, enjoys a game of bridge, or joins in on family Monopoly night, they’re benefiting their brain in a variety of ways.
Seniors even benefit from online versions of their favorite games, making gaming more accessible to everyone at any time.
Maintaining a social network, even a small one, is crucial to mental and emotional health in seniors.
The less an older adult socializes with others, the more likely they are to experience depression and develop dementia.
Helping your senior loved one to get out of the house for some time with friends and family a few times a week is important. Look for senior centers, book clubs, group exercise classes, and even learning opportunities for older adults in your area.
And if getting out of the house frequently isn’t possible, find ways to bring socialization to your loved one. While in-person chatting is best, even a Skype call from a friend or family member can boost mood and give the brain a little lift.
Experienced In-Home Senior Care in Maryland
At Advanced Nursing & Home Support, we understand the importance of a healthy brain to the overall health and wellness of older adults. Our trained in-home care providers work hard to maintain your senior loved one’s brain as well as their body through regular interaction, promotion of healthy eating habits, socialization, and more. We work with you to figure out the goals of your loved one’s care so they can thrive exactly where they’re at. Call today!