Brain Health in Seniors and How Cognitive Exercises Can Help
As we age, we are reminded about the importance of eating the right foods and remaining physically active. What we tend to overlook is the importance of exercising our brains and how cognitive health can directly impact other aspects of our lives. The great thing about cognitive exercises for seniors is that they can be entertaining and inexpensive. In fact, it is something that seniors can do with friends and family. Healthcare professionals like Elite Home Care can help in promoting brain health in seniors and integrate cognitive exercises into their daily routines.
The Importance of Brain Health for Seniors
Forgetting things or taking longer to process information is a normal part of aging. However, one in nine aging adults experiences a subjective cognitive decline, which is the self-reported experience of worsening confusion or memory loss. The risk of developing dementia and other diseases also increases with age. While brain exercises won't necessarily prevent this, they could act as a buffer and help prolong its progression. If you are experiencing any symptoms, it's best to seek guidance from a medical professional.
Cognitive Exercises for a Sharp Mind
Participating in cognitive exercises stimulates mental function and promotes overall brain health in seniors. This includes the executive function part of the brain which involves daily skills used to organize, plan, focus, and regulate emotions. It also contributes to our processing speed which is the length of time it takes to understand and process the information received.
In fact, there are heaps of cognitive exercises for seniors that come in many different shapes and sizes. From trivial tasks such as using the opposite hand to brush your teeth or driving without relying on directions to more structured exercises, like the following:
- Puzzles such as jigsaw or crosswords will work out the visual-spatial part of your brain as well as your memory.
- Knitting requires learning new skills and patterns. It's also an activity that requires mindfulness, which helps reduce stress and anxiety.
- Games like Scrabble, Sudoku, and chess are all mental stimulants that make learning something new, fun. They are also great for those who have mobility issues.
- Socializing will help motivate loved ones to remain mentally and physically active. In fact, the act itself is linked to living longer and improving agility.
Adopting Healthy Habits for Optimal Brain Health
Physical, mental, and emotional health are all interconnected. For example, simply implementing a daily walk into your routine will improve concentration, release endorphins, strengthen muscles, and relieve joint pain. As a result, you will begin feeling more lively, happy, focused, and peaceful—on the inside and outside. Lastly, it's important to consider other lifestyle factors that may be contributing to the decline of your overall health. Smoking and other tobacco use causes vascular problems which can negatively impact brain and heart health in seniors.
Take Control of Your Health and Care: Explore Our CDPAP Services Today
The Consumer Directed Personal Assistance Program is offered by Medicaid and is a service that the healthcare professionals at Elite Home Health Care are familiar with. CDPAP allows the consumer to choose the caregiver of their choice, which includes families looking for a private caregiver or other home healthcare services.
Give us a call to schedule a consultation or explore the benefits of CDPAP for personalized and empowering care.
Written by: Leah Ganz
Leah Ganz, RN, BSN is the Director of Patient Services at Elite Home Health Care. She has an extensive background in homecare and previously worked in various specialties including pediatrics, pain management and internal medicine. She oversees all patient services across Elite's departments.