As we age, it becomes increasingly important to take proactive steps to maintain and enhance our cognitive abilities. The old adage of “use it or lose it” really does apply when it comes to our brains. The good news is that engaging in intellectually stimulating activities can help boost memory, concentration, problem-solving skills and more. At our Westminster Manor senior living community, we make brain health a priority and offer a range of programs and resources to keep our residents’ minds active and alert.
In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the many ways seniors can stay sharp by incorporating brain-stimulating activities into their daily routines.
The Benefits of Brain Training
Research has shown cognitive and memory training can benefit older adults in a variety of ways. Some key advantages include:
– Boosting focus, concentration and attention span
– Strengthening short-term memory and recall
– Improving processing speed and coordination
– Enhancing problem-solving abilities and mental flexibility
– Delaying cognitive decline associated with aging and dementia
– Improving overall mental acuity and perception
– Increasing self-confidence and sense of control over one’s mind
Along with bolstering cognitive skills, engaging activities also provide an opportunity for meaningful social engagement and interaction. The social element helps make training fun rather than isolating or boring.
Activities to Build Your Thinking Skills
The good news is that there are endless engaging ways we can “exercise” our brain on a daily basis. Here are some suggested activities to incorporate:
– Crossword puzzles
– Sudoku and other number games
– Word searches
– Jigsaw puzzles
– Strategy games like chess, checkers, bridge, or mahjong
– Trivia games on a range of topics
– Playing card games that involve counting or sequencing
– Video games and online brain training games
These types of games flex mental muscles in different ways – from memory recall to visual-spatial reasoning. Try mixing it up to target varied skills.
– Take a class at a local college or community center
– Join or start a book club focused on challenging literature
– Learn a new language
– Study an unfamiliar subject that always interested you
– Attend lectures on topics outside your expertise
– Learn to play a musical instrument
– Enroll in an online course
Lifelong learning exposes our brains to new ideas and information which strengthens cognitive function. Share what you’re learning with others to reinforce lessons.
Creative and Analytical Activities
– Write stories, poems or memoirs
– Paint, draw, sculpt or engage in other visual arts
– Craft projects like quilting, knitting, sewing, scrapbooking
– Work on jigsaw or 3D puzzles
– Play “brain training” computer games
– Do math puzzles like Sudoku and numbered crosswords
– Memorize poems or speeches
– Learn a choreographed dance or complex exercise routine
– Follow a new recipe with several steps
Activities like these engage multiple regions of the brain as you utilize language, creativity, visualization, sequencing and logic skills.
– Have engaging conversations with others.
– Listen to informative podcasts and lectures.
– Read books, magazines and newspapers daily.
– Write lists and notes by hand instead of digitally.
– Play brain games like Scrabble or do crosswords with a friend.
– Follow current events and discuss them.
– Do activities and hobbies that involve multiple senses.
– Walk or exercise regularly to increase blood flow.
– Get enough sleep to allow full brain restoration.
– Eat a balanced, nutritious diet with brain-healthy foods.
Weave these types of activities into your routine to keep your brain challenged daily.
– Repeating names and information out loud
– Methodically retracing your steps to remember locations of objects
– Associating people’s names with characteristics to aid recall
– Creating acronyms and mnemonic devices
– Recalling main themes after finishing a book or movie
– Doing mental arithmetic without digital assistance
Targeted memory-strengthening exercises will improve recall and help fight normal age-related memory loss.
Cognitive Training Programs at Westminster Manor
At Westminster Manor, we incorporate a variety of engaging evidence-based cognitive training activities into our lifestyle calendar. Some examples include:
Brain Aerobics – Facilitated by a neuropsychologist, these interactive sessions target skills like memory, language and attention through exercises and group discussions.
Current Events Group – Residents meet weekly to discuss the latest news events and debate implications, exercising critical thinking and reasoning abilities.
Creative Writing – Our writing coach leads sessions to craft poetry, memoirs and fiction pieces, flexing literary skills.
Guest Lecture Series – Local professors and experts share knowledge on topics like astronomy, history and art.
Spanish Lessons – Weekly lessons teach conversational Spanish and immerse residents in language acquisition.
Music Appreciation – Our music therapist explores different musical genres and instruments. Residents recall melodies and identify instruments by sound.
Brain Health Resources at Westminster Manor
Protecting your cognitive abilities as you age is vitally important to maintaining independence and quality of life. We encourage people of all ages to take steps to boost brain health. The wide variety of engaging activities available means you can choose options aligned with your unique interests and abilities.
At Westminster Manor, it is our privilege to support residents’ mental vitality and provide resources to stay cognitively active. Please reach out to learn more about our brain health programs tailored to older adults. We look forward to welcoming you into our community of active, empowered seniors pursuing lifelong learning and growth.