Mind Stimulating Activities for Seniors

ind Stimulating Activities & Brain Games for Seniors

Just as physical exercise strengthens and trains our bodies, cognitive training and exercise stimulates the brain, helping it grow and develop new connections as we age. The more we challenge the brain (through various forms of mental exercise), the better it is at processing information. As family caregivers, we want to be sure our loved ones remain healthy in every aspect – including their mental health.

The following mind stimulating activities provide ways to keep seniors sharp, helping to improve memory, problem solving, creativity and other cognitive functions.

1. Puzzles & Word Games

Puzzles and word games (such as crosswords, Sudoku, word search, etc.) serve as effective and fun ways to engage the mind. For seniors, puzzles help to improve memory, word recall and other functions in the brain.

Tip: Encourage your loved one or patient to complete crossword puzzles found in the daily newspaper, or pick one up from the store. This type of activity provides entertainment and also keep the mind active and sharp!

2. Card Games

Simple card games such as Poker, Solitaire, Go Fish and Memory Match can help to improve cognitive function in seniors. Card games stimulate parts of the brain responsible for logical problem solving and memory retention, along with other functions.

Tip: Play a game of cards with your loved one or patient after dinner to keep his or her mind sharp.

3. Chess & Strategy Games

Strategy games such as checkers and chess stimulate multiple parts of the brain and are widely used for educational purposes. One study believes that chess provides the following benefits: likely to raise an individual’s IQ; helps to prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia; exercises both sides of the brain; increases creativity; and improves memory, concentration, problem-solving, reading, and decision-making skills.

4. Reading

Enjoying a good novel, reading an article on the web, or catching up with the daily news not only keeps seniors informed and entertained, but it helps to improve a variety of cognitive functions. Reading sparks imagination and forces the brain to create images to match the words written on paper, making it one of the most entertaining and effective ways to exercise the brain.

Tip: Recommend a good novel for your loved one or patient to curl up with before bed.

5. Activities That Involve the Use of Your Hands

Activities that focus on hand-eye coordination and creativity such as knitting, sewing, playing an instrument and even video games help seniors exercise the brain.

Tip: Consider the use of a video game console for your patient or elderly family member.

6. Physical Exercise & Healthy Lifestyle

Maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important for improving your memory. Just as our muscles need exercise to grow, as do our brains. Aside from eating healthy, getting a sufficient amount of sleep, and maintaining stress levels, it’s important to remain physically active. For seniors with limited mobility, there are still a number of ways to stay active and keep the heart rate up, whether it’s walking, light gardening, housekeeping, stretching or even meditation. Exercise releases endorphins in the brain and has also been shown to improve one’s mood, vitality, alertness and overall feelings of well-being.

Keeping loved ones active and healthy (both physically and mentally) is imperative, but for busy family caregivers, it’s not always easy. Since 1992, Sonas Home Health Care has specialized in providing quality, cost-conscious home health care services for clients in their homes, hospitals, assisted living facilities and nursing homes. For more information about our services, including companion and respite care, Contact us directly or request a free in-home assessment.