Just like our bodies, our brains can begin to slow down and lose some “muscle”, or some cognitive function, as we go through the aging process. This is one of the reasons why staying mentally active can help improve our memory and even delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias. For those who are already experiencing memory loss, adding some brain games for memory improvement can not only slow cognitive impairment further, but they can be fun, too!
The Benefits of Brain Exercise
Studies have shown that keeping your brain active leads to less of a decline in your thinking skills. For example, a study was conducted in which participants aged 65 or older took brain training that involved skill of memory, reasoning, and speed of processing information. The study found that those older adults who took the brain training showed improvements in all skills- and the improvements lasted for at least five years! Everyday tasks like balancing the checkbook and doing housework also improved.
Along with brain exercise, living a healthy life overall might also reduce the risk for dementia. Eating a well-balanced diet that’s low in fat and cholesterol and high in nutrients and antioxidants, along with exercising regularly, can improve your brain health. Avoid boredom as much as possible; passive activities like sitting and watching TV for hours can be detrimental to your brain as well.
Memory Games for Seniors
So, what are some of the brain games designed to maximize brain function and potentially slow down dementia. Here are just a few ideas:
- Make lists. Test your memory recall by making a list and trying to memorize it. A list of chores to accomplish, things you need from the grocery store, etc. Try to remember what you wrote down an hour or so later.
- Card games. Get a group of friends together weekly for a few rounds of your favorite card games. If you’re having some dementia symptoms, keep it simple and play games like War that don’t have many steps to them.
- Board games. Play some fun, easy board games with your grandchildren. Get them involved by allowing them to bring their favorite game when they come visit.
- Learn an instrument. Learning something new is a great way to stimulate the brain. Instead of an instrument, you can also consider taking a class to learn a second language.
- Test your taste buds. When eating a new dish, try to identify the subtle flavors from herbs and spices and other ingredients.
- Do a puzzle. Putting together a puzzle helps test your hand-eye coordination and keeps your concentration levels high.
- Start a new hobby. Challenge yourself by taking up a hobby like knitting, painting, writing, etc.
The best part about most of these memory games for seniors is that many of them also provide a great way to stay socially connected as well. Maintaining social relationships help improve your brain, too!
While there is no cure for the illnesses causing dementia, these brain exercises can help delay some of the symptoms and keep your brain active and healthy longer.
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