Stimulate Your Mind!
Physical and mental health is important in aging adults. Mental health is sometimes considered even more important for seniors. Mild Cognitive Impairment (MCI) is common among individuals who are 65 or older and isn’t a form of Dementia. Stimulating older adult minds can help lessen the effects of the aging process.
Keeping the brain stimulated can help minimize agitation and depression, establish a sense of ownership and independence, gain a feeling of accomplishment, and promote emotional connection & self-expression. The brain is like a muscle. It needs exercise, and a way to exercise the brain is to stimulate it with activities.
Some ways to keep the brain stimulated are:
1. Crafting – There are many benefits of crafting when it comes to the senior community. One of the reasons crafting is important is older adults can easily create and finish crafting projects, which makes them feel like they can accomplish anything. According to our activities team, seniors who craft are generally happier and more outgoing. Crafting projects are something that individuals can look forward to. If you need some ideas of crafts to create, check out our Pinterest Board: Crafts Board
2. Reading and Writing – Aging adults should read and write often. Reading in particular helps enhance memory, sharpen decision-making skills, and reduce stress. Books can be found in-person or online. Individuals can purchase books in-person at the following stores: Dollar General, Walmart, or Big Lots. Locally, Bradley’s Book Outlet and Rosie’s Book Shop in DuBois have large varieties of books and genres. If you have a smartphone or tablet, download the kindle app for a number of different kinds of books and genres. Some are even free! Writing is important, too, since it helps preserve memory. Pen pals, journals, or diaries are some ways that someone can tell their story and tap into another creative niche in your brain. In journals or diaries, some topics to include may be: reflecting on a quote, answering a question, explaining life milestones, describing events, writing about challenges, stating solutions to challenges, writing prayers, describing memories, recalling dreams, writing affirmations, creating thought clusters, writing poetry, or making a bucket list.
3. Cooking and Baking – Engaging in activities, like cooking and baking, is another way allow for mental stimulation and use of fine motor skills. Cook with children, friends, aging parents, or a significant other to keep active! Here is a Pinterest Board with easy recipes to try: Easy Recipes
4. Listening to Music – At any age, music is a way to get hyped, reflect on emotions, or even relax. According to Aging Care online, seniors who listen to music are more socially active and interact with others. They also have a better outlook on life. Listening to music from a senior’s childhood is a great way to trigger a memory of theirs. Relaxing music promotes better nights of sleep, lowering of physical pain, and injury recovery time can be lessened. Some ways to bring music into your life or your loved one’s life are: create personalized playlists, encourage instrument playing, or participate in singalongs.
Here are some links to YouTube playlists of songs from the 50s, 60s, and 70s.
5. Sleeping Enough – Not only does sleeping enhance memory and attention span, it also helps reduce depression, reduce stress and anxiety, increase alertness while awake, reduced risk of falling, and even a happier lifestyle. Some easy ways to promote a well-rested night of sleep are: sticking to a regular sleep schedule, soothing bed-time routine (ex. bathing), limit stimulants (ex. caffeine, sugar, alcohol), and ensure a quiet & dark resting area. Meditating before going to sleep is always a great way to relax.
You can download the ‘Calm’ app on your smartphone or tablet for 5-minute meditation segments or Here is a link to a YouTube Guided Meditation video for sleep: Guided Sleep Meditation
6. Socializing with Others – Interacting with others helps stimulate the brain while having a two-way conversation. Some ways to make sure you or your loved one socializes on a regular basis are: go to a local sporting event, catch up with neighbors/family/friends by calling them on the phone, take your pet to the dog park, or attend local events. Usually, a list of local events can be found on local media station websites or Facebook.
7. Solve Puzzles – The best way to keep the brain stimulated is solving puzzles. This is one of the most active ways to enhance memory, better cognitive skills, and improve concentration among aging adults. Here is the link to our Pinterest board with different puzzles: Puzzles Board
As mentioned in last week’s blog post, cognitive health in older adults is very important. Mental decline is one of the saddest and scariest aspects in the aging process and can be slowed down by keeping the brain stimulated with activities such as these.
Residents at Christ the King Manor are exposed to all of these stimulants. Our Activities Team makes sure each resident keeps active and involved, even if the resident wants to just stay in their room. For more information on what features we have at Christ the King Manor and what activities are offered, contact our activities department at (814)371-3180 or sign up for our newsletter on our website: www.ctkmanor.org
Author: Dominique Martino, M.A.
Title: Director of Marketing and Communications
Bemis, E. (2020, March 12). 10 Stimulating Activities for the Elderly. In UMH. Retrieved from https://www.umh.org/assisted-independent-living-blog/stimulating-activities-for-the-elderly
Botek, A. (2020, May 14). Healing Harmonies: Music Therapy for Seniors and Caregivers. In Aging Care. Retrieved from https://www.agingcare.com/Articles/music-as-medicine-for-seniors-156581.htm
Develop Good Habits Group. (2020, July 21). 59 Deep Journaling Ideas. In Develop Good Habits. Retrieved from https://www.developgoodhabits.com/what-write-journal/