Alzheimer’s & Dementia Care: Games to Exercise the Mind and Memory
As we age, we know we’re supposed to stay active to keep our bodies healthy and strong. But did you know there are also benefits to doing exercises that challenge your mind? A number of studies show that staying mentally active as you age can help you avoid memory loss or even delay dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
While there are plenty of mobile apps designed to exercise your mind and memory, games for people with Alzheimer’s don’t have to be fancy. Even low-tech games like Bingo have been shown to have a positive effect on those with Alzheimer’s and on other dementia patients. Really, any game or puzzle that keeps your mind active and engaged can be helpful in slowing memory loss and other types of mental decline.
What types of games exercise the mind and memory?
When it comes to keeping your mind sharp, experts recommend brain training that involves real-world activities. In particular, there are a few exercises you can do to sharpen the mind and improve your memory.
- Browse your morning newspaper for simple games like Sudoku.
- Brush your teeth using your opposite hand.
- Learn to speak a foreign language or play a musical instrument.
- Perform math problems in your head without the help of a pencil and paper.
- Learn how to cook a new type of cuisine or a recipe you’ve never tried before.
- After coming home from a new place, draw a map of the area from memory.
- Refine your hand-eye motor skills by taking up knitting, drawing, or painting.
- Make a list of items and memorize it. An hour later, see how many you can recall.
- Play a board game or complete a puzzle with your kids or grandkids.
- Learn how to play a new card game with a group of friends.
How do mind exercises help?
The reasons for the link between mental stimulation and Alzheimer’s aren’t completely clear yet. However, research suggests that when you keep your brain active with exercises, you may build up a reserve supply of brain cells that can delay or even prevent Alzheimer’s. This “cognitive reserve” allows the brain to function effectively even if it becomes damaged.
Another reason to engage in exercises for the mind is that puzzles, games, and other mental tasks may help the brain become more adaptable in some functions, so it can compensate for declines in others.
We’re here for you
In a large study of healthy aging adults, researchers found a correlation between more frequent social interactions and better cognitive function. Avalon Home Care, we also recognize the importance of companionship for aging adults. That’s why our compassionate caregivers go above and beyond helping with health, personal, and home-related tasks. In addition to their caretaking duties, they will also play games, rent movies, and plan outings with your loved one. They can also serve as an escort and companion for running errands, going to church, attending club meetings and sporting events, and visiting with friends and neighbors.
To find out more about our care services or to schedule a free in-home consultation, give us a call at (800) 723-4197.