Staying Sharp: Brain Health Activities for Seniors

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.

Everyday Habits

– 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.

Memory-Boosting Activities

– 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.

A Must-Have Q&A Guide When Checking Out a Continuing Care Retirement Community

Picking the right Continuing Care Retirement Community (CCRC), like our very own Westminster Manor here in sunny Bradenton, Florida, can feel like a pretty big deal. Whether you’re looking for yourself or you’re on the hunt for your loved one’s perfect community fit, you need to find a place that feels just right. With so many choices, it can be a bit overwhelming. But don’t worry, we’re here with a list of key questions you should ask when touring potential spots. This way, you’ll know you’ve found the right place to be.

What Types of Care Are Offered?

The most important thing to know is what levels of care are on the table. Most CCRCs will provide a range of care options, starting from independent living (for those who are self-sufficient) all the way up to assisted living and skilled nursing (for residents who need a bit more help or specialized care). The main goal is to make sure that no matter what curveballs life throws at your or your loved ones, the right kind of care is always right within reach.

And while you’re at it, remember to inquire about temporary care options. This could be something like respite care, which offers short-term relief for primary caregivers, or short-term rehab for those recovering from surgery, an injury, or an illness. Take your time to understand each specific level of care – understanding these details will ensure you or your loved ones always know what care they have when they need it.

What About Costs?

Next up is talking about money. Different CCRCs have different financial commitments. You could find anything from an all-inclusive contract to a pay-as-you-go method. So, ask about the initial fee, the monthly charges, and what exactly you get for your investment. Here at Westminster Manor, the fees cover pretty much everything you need – maintenance, utilities, delicious meals, and healthcare services. The goal is to make sure you can focus on enjoying life without hidden costs popping up.

It’s important when you’re touring to ask about all the little and big costs. Ask about the initial entrance fee and what it includes. Then make sure to ask about the monthly charges that will occur, if they set in stone, or if they change based on the level of care received. And, of course, the most important question is what exactly you’re getting for your money.

What’s Life Like Here?

Now, onwards to the fun stuff. Your retirement community should be a place where you can really enjoy life – not just a healthcare provider. What amenities do they have? Any fun activities or clubs to join where you can meet people? Is there a buzzing social calendar packed with everything from bingo nights to movie marathons? A swimming pool for hot sunny days? It’s important to find a place where you can relax and live your life in the sun!

Here at Westminster Manor, we’re all about the fun. We’re talking delicious meals prepared by skilled chefs (imagine enjoying a five-star dining experience without even leaving your community!), a social calendar that’s chock-full of exciting events, and all sorts of clubs and groups that cater to a wide range of interests. With us, there’s always something happening, promising a life far from the mundane!

Who Will Be Looking After Me?

Let’s move onto another major player in the CCRC world – the staff. You see, they’re not just employees; they’re the heartbeat of any top-notch CCRC. They’re the friendly faces you’ll see every day, and the helping hands you’ll rely on.

So, when you’re doing the rounds, don’t forget to ask about the crew who’ll be looking after you or your loved ones. What kind of qualifications do they have? Are they certified in their roles, be it nursing, catering, or facility maintenance? And what about their training – how are they prepped to provide the highest level of care? It’s also smart to get a feel for the staff-to-resident ratio. A good balance ensures everyone gets the attention they need.

And, of course, don’t skip out on finding out about the medical team. Are there doctors in-house or on-call? Is there a registered nurse always on duty, ready to spring into action when needed? These medical pros are super important, especially in a CCRC where residents may have varying healthcare needs.

How Do Moves Between Care Levels Work?

Finally, you need to know what happens if you need to move up in your levels of care. Life can be unpredictable sometimes, and it’s crucial to know how the CCRC manages these changes. Who makes the call when it’s time for a resident to transition from independent living to assisted living or even to skilled nursing? Is it a group decision involving the resident, family, and healthcare professionals?

And here’s another big factor – does moving up a level mean the costs increase? Will the fees change, or are these potential increases already covered in your initial agreement? Some places might have a fixed rate, while others might charge additional fees for increased levels of care.

Wrapping It Up

Picking a CCRC is a major decision, and you need to think it through carefully. But, armed with these essential questions, you’ll know exactly what to look out for. We’re always here at Westminster Manor, ready to chat and answer any other questions you might have. With our amazing range of services, fun lifestyle, and dedicated team, we think we’re a pretty great example of what a CCRC should be. Remember, this isn’t just about finding somewhere to live; it’s about finding a community to call home.

How you can stay in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community

Are you considering a move to a senior living community but worried about how you’ll keep in touch with family and friends? You’re not alone. Many future residents have the same concerns.

Luckily, there are plenty of ways to stay connected and keep in touch with the people you care about. From FaceTime to card nights to private dining parties, residents have plenty of options to stay connected with their loved ones.

In this blog post, we’ll explore some of the best ways to keep in touch with family and friends after moving to a senior living community.

Enjoy a video call to have a virtual visit with family or friends whenever you like

A virtual visit can help maintain ties even when residents and their friends are separated by thousands of miles. Modern technology for video calling like FaceTime makes visiting easier than ever. Video calls allow residents to enjoy a face-to-face conversation with family or friends anywhere in the world, from the comfort of their living room. No expensive travel required!

Residents can use FaceTime or video chat services like Skype, Google Hangouts and Zoom to stay in touch with those who matter most. Grandparents can share stories with grandchildren who live far away or have regular catch-ups with distant relatives. Video calling also makes it possible for to host a virtual event, like a game night or movie watch party.

Enjoy a card or board game night and mix the “old” and “new” friends

With many social connections in their current neighborhoods, the prospect of moving to a senior living community can be daunting for many older adults. Fortunately, there are plenty of in-person social opportunities at senior living communities — some of them more informal than others.
Many senior living communities have groups of residents who enjoy a night of card games or board games. Play poker, Clue, Settlers of Catan or whatever you prefer, and enjoy having social opportunities and good friends at your fingertips.

These social events offer a reason for residents to invite their friends and family members over for a night of fun and laughter. It also provides an informal setting for guests to meet other residents and engage in meaningful conversations.

For older adults who want to make sure they stay connected to their friends, one surefire way to make things more fun is to invite their “old” friends to meet the “new” at a game night. It can make for a memorable evening filled with laughter and good company — all while bonding deeper relationships with fellow residents at the same time.

Host a dinner party and let someone else do all the work

Dining is an important part of life at a senior living community. But a special event may call for having a few friends over for dinner, and who wants to do all the cooking and dishes?

That’s why many senior living communities offer residents a variety of catered dining options, to invite guests over for a special dinner party. A special menu developed with the Dining department makes it simple and convenient to plan an event. Enjoy a luxurious meal without lifting a finger!

Inviting friends and family over to experience their community is also great to help those who may be considering making the move themselves. Guests get an up-close look at the lifestyle offered at their friend’s new home. Private dining options allow potential new residents to get an idea of what life would be like for them.

From poker nights to private dinners, there are plenty of ways for residents of senior living communities to keep in touch with family and friends. To learn all about how additional socialization opportunities abound at a Westminster community, find the community that suits you today on our Web site!

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