As we age, our brains change making it harder to recall information and to learn new things. Those who suffer from dementia really feel the effects which can affect their daily life immensely. That’s why it’s extremely important to keep our minds stimulated on a frequent basis so we can help ward off the effects of an aging brain.
As we feel the effects of an aging brain, our first instinct may be to isolate, to avoid, or to hide. These defense mechanisms will only encourage the negative effects of the aging brain. We need to do our part to combat these effects. We do this by stimulating our brains and remaining socially engaged. Let’s check out some ways to stimulate our brains and stay socially engaged.
1. Maintain & enhance our relationships.
As life changes and relationships change, our relationships with friends and family can easily fall through the cracks leaving us feeling isolated. By working to maintain our relationships, it allows us to remember and recall events easier while using our brain functions to communicate with others. These are all ways to help keep our brain stimulated while helping us to stay engaged with others.
If our family or friends live far away, there are social media platforms like Facebook, Twitter, or FaceTime (insert hyperlinks going back to Social media blog) that allows you to stay connected and in touch with others. This works to ward off feelings of isolation. It is also a great way to connect with old classmates and school friends that you might have lost contact with long ago.
2. Mind busters
A game of cards, word find, Sudoku, or crossword puzzles are great ways to activate synapses in the brain to help with memory and problem solving. These examples as well as something as simple as an adult coloring book are all ways to keep the mind stimulated. Let’s not forget, these are fun and enjoyable things to do to pass the time. Many seniors enjoy these convenient games in the comfort of their own home, out on their back patio, or on a flight to a visit a loved one.
If your eyesight or arthritis limits your ability to see or move your joints, they have enhanced fonts for those with limited vision, and pens specifically made for arthritic limitations.
3. Keep your interests
It’s easy to say “the heck with it” when it comes to our interests and our changing mind & bodies as we age, but these things are what keep us interested, engaged, and having fun in life. If you enjoy music, find a local band playing and go watch, or join a church choir. If you love to play cards and your group has suddenly fallen apart, find a new group. If you like a walk in the park, take a walk in the park. You never know who you may run into. It could be a new friend who you can enjoy similar interests together. It sounds like a “win-win” situation to me!
Many seniors report life after work leaves them feeling empty or without a purpose. By volunteering, you can keep yourself engaged and your mind active, while giving back to an organization you believe in. This is a wonderful way to stay socially engaged and filling that need for a purpose. You may find yourself cultivating many relationships you would have never imagine by volunteering.
5. Attend Activities
Whether these activities are your grandkids ball games, bingo at the local senior center, or Bunko at the senior living place you reside; get involved! These types of things provide many opportunities to connect with other people while doing something you enjoy. If you haven’t tried a new activity in a while, challenge yourself to learn something new. By trying something new, you are adding a stimulating challenge on your brain to remember information.
By incorporating or continuing these simple ways to stimulate the brain and stay socially connected, you may have the chance to ward of the symptoms of an aging brain. My question to you is, “what are you waiting for?”
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