Use it or Lose it – Brain Games for Your Memory
While this adage normally applies to our muscles and the need for physical activity, it is also relevant to the human brain. As with our muscles, the brain needs regular workouts to stay healthy and fit as we age. Just as we lose lean muscle mass as we get older, our brains can atrophy, as well. Neuroscience researchers now believe that following a brain-healthy lifestyle and performing regular brain exercises can similarly increase the brain’s cognitive power.
People with any form of dementia, including Alzheimer’s, may be able to slow the progression of the disease by exercising the brain. New research suggests that making lifestyle changes and challenging your brain may also help regain lost brainpower-even in Alzheimer’s disease.
Brain Building Activities and Keep Memory Strong Ways
Cognitive specialists tell us the following activities have proven to be useful in giving your brain a “workout” and sharpening your mental skills:
- Crossword Puzzles — Crossword puzzles are a good source of intellectual stimulation. They involve several mental activities, including word skills, geometrical skills and logic. Crossword puzzles are also easy to find and inexpensive.
- Word Finding Games — Word finding or word search games that involve hunting, comparing, spelling and logic are another good way to increase cognitive ability. They can be found in magazines and newspapers, and there are entire books devoted to word games.
- Trivia — Trivia games may also help the Alzheimer’s patient retain some brain function. Some of the best ones provide questions and answers from the person’s younger days. Trivia games also provide social interaction as they are frequently played with family and friends.
- Scrabble and Other Word Games — Scrabble requires various forms of thinking that exercise the brain. In addition to the logic of space and placement, spelling and rational thinking, it also provides additional opportunities for socialization. Scrabble can help keep the aging mind sharp and provide the person something to look forward to every day.
- Other Brain Stimulating Games — Strategy games, such as chess, checkers and Sudoku are excellent ways to stimulate the brain. Card games also provide a combination of logic, planning and social skills. Video and computer games can also be stimulating brain activities to help slow down the progression of dementia associated with Alzheimer’s.
Other Good Exercises to Keep the Aging Brain Fit
- Test your recall — Make a list of grocery items, errands, or anything else that comes to mind and memorize it. Later on, see how many items you can recall.
- Do the math in your head — Figure out problems without the aid of pencil, paper, or computer. Make it more challenging by walking at the same time.
- Create word pictures — Visualize the spelling of a word in your head, then try and think of any other words that begin (or end) with the same two letters.
- Learn a foreign language — The listening and hearing involved stimulates the brain.
- Music class — Learn to play a musical instrument.
- Improve your hand-eye coordination — Learn a new skill that involves fine-motor skills, such as drawing, painting, doing a puzzle, etc.
- Learn a new sport — Take up an athletic exercise that utilizes the mind and body, like golf or tennis.
- Utilize all of your senses — Try activities that involve as many of your senses as possible, e.g. gardening.
By following these keep memory strong ways and simple tips, you’ll be on your way to a healthier, better functioning brain.
About the Author
The Inn on the Pond is an elegant, new assisted living residence located on the Campus for Jewish Life in Clearwater, FL. We offer quality, comprehensive care in a welcoming Jewish environment. With a strong commitment to maintaining the independence and dignity of our residents, our professionally trained staff provides support and assistance when necessary. Guided by Menorah Manor’s experience in senior care for over 26 years, the goal of The Inn on the Pond is to enhance the lives of our residents by providing comfort, socialization opportunities and security. Click Here to learn more about Inn on the Pond Senior Retirement Living in Clearwater, Florida