Millions of people in the U.S. live with some form of dementia, many of which are aged 65+. When an aging loved one in your family is diagnosed with cognitive impairment, watching them struggle with memory loss can be an emotional experience. Thankfully, there are several proven ways to help prevent cognitive decline or, at the very least, slow its progression. As a family caregiver, these brain-training tips may hold the key to preserving your senior’s cognitive health for many years to come.
Dementia describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, social skills, and cognitive abilities in ways that interfere with a person’s daily activities. Although dementia isn’t one specific disease, several different diseases can cause it.
For example, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in older adults. And even though dementia typically causes memory loss, memory loss itself can have different causes.
Brain-Teasing Activities for Seniors to Improve Cognitive Health
Eating brain-healthy foods, exercising regularly, staying connected with others, and getting plenty of sleep are all positives for senior cognitive health. On the other hand, social isolation and loneliness have been linked to cognitive decline, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.
In addition to healthy lifestyle choices, these brain-teasing activities are great for stimulating the minds of older adults with or without dementia:
Watching nostalgic TV shows and movies
Your parents or grandparents probably grew up watching television shows like Gunsmoke, The Beverly Hillbillies, and Gilligan’s Island. They may also enjoy viewing classic movies, all of which can be found on popular networks and streaming services. Watching old TV shows and movies is the perfect way to stimulate the mind of your loved ones while creating new memories that last a lifetime.
Playing vintage board games
As with other entertainment ideas that don’t require a lot of focus or attention, playing vintage board games as a family is another fun way to involve elderly members. Some of the best board games for seniors with dementia include Jenga, Qwirkle, Backgammon, Bingo, Yahtzee, Uno, and Checkers.
Listening to retro music
Vinyl is back, so pull out those old records and share them with your loved one. After all, music brings back pleasant memories like nothing else. If vinyl records aren’t your thing, ask Alexa to select some vintage songs from your mom or dad’s past or use a free online service like Online Radio Box to play some of their favorite tunes.
Better yet, ask them to dance and then watch their face light up as they fondly remember dancing the night away in the arms of a special someone many years ago.
Other family activities
Other mind-stimulating activities you can do with older family members include:
- Bake cookies or other treats
- Look at family photo albums
- Watch old home movies
- Do a hobby together
- Video-record the person answering questions about their life, including their favorite experiences growing up
- Take a walk at a park or nature area
- Go fishing
- Plant flowers or tend a garden
- Feed birds with a bird feeder and watch them from the window
- People watch while sitting on a bench or swing
- Have a picnic in the park or backyard
- Share morning coffee on the deck or patio
Make a memory box
Notably beneficial for someone with dementia or Alzheimer’s, a memory box is an actual box filled with items reminiscent of a given era. Using a shoebox or comparable container, place photographs, postcards, small toys, old newspaper articles, etc., inside. Then, use the memory box to encourage your loved one to talk about the items. Lastly, motivate them to share many happy memories related to those items.
Our Caregivers Love Keeping Seniors Active and Entertained!
Finding ways to stimulate your aging loved one’s mind isn’t always easy. At First In Care, our compassionate caregivers can step in and provide your seniors with healthy activities and companionship. While serving as an extended family in your loved one’s home, our highly trained professionals understand the requirements of maintaining a client’s quality of life, along with their dignity and self-esteem.
In addition to companionship care uniquely tailored to your family’s needs, First In Care also provides in-home support for other daily living activities like personal hygiene, light housework, medication reminders, and transportation. Our senior caregiving services are affordable, flexible, and always delivered in a seamless package that restores your peace of mind. To learn more now about our private home health and concierge services in Bradenton and Manatee County, Florida, please visit www.firstincare.com.