Judith Graham, human development specialist at the University of Maine, states “… a baby’s brain contains 100 billion neurons, roughly as many nerve cells as there are stars in the Milky Way, and almost all the neurons the brain will ever have.” Children learn at an accelerated rate due to these neurons firing away and creating connections.
The Science of Aging
As we age neurons are not firing the same way nor the same speed as when we were younger. Specific areas begin to shrink and blood flow decreases. These changes may lead to a decline in mental capacity. We all age differently and so do our brains.
Use It or Lose It
There are ways to keep brains active and healthy. First and foremost, it is important to have and maintain a healthy lifestyle. Exercise, eat healthy food and get sufficient sleep. A critical factor in anti-aging is to keep stress levels low. Choose your relaxation approach…meditate, garden, walk or listen to music.
Capture Your Imagination
Minds create images and stimulate the brain when seeing or hearing. Find a book, newspaper or interesting article on the internet. Any reading material will do. Not only is reading beneficial and entertaining but you will be more informed about the world around you and its surroundings.
Music makes a foot tap or a finger snap. Listening to music alone helps mend brain pathways but playing an instrument or singing also amps up the healing benefits. Music Therapy has been proven to increase responses in Dementia patients.
An excellent way to exercise brains is by strengthening hand-eye coordination. Be aware of spatial distance and the coordination of hands and eyes. Knitting, sewing, ping pong and adult coloring are popular choices for improving this skill.
Play video games! If you don’t have a gaming console, play games on a computer or phone. Popular apps to download are Luminosity and Happify.
5 Games To Improve Brain Health
There are multiple types of games to improve cognitive function. The following are just a few.
Start with an easy jigsaw puzzle, one with large pieces and gradually work up to editions with more or smaller pieces. Crosswords, Find-A-Word games and Sudoku puzzles are also popular and easily found in the daily newspaper or paperback books.
2. Card Games
The beauty of Solitaire is only one person is needed to play. If you don’t have company, spend a little time playing Solitaire. Card games played in teams are Poker, Pitch, Blackjack and even Go-Fish! The more mathematical minded may choose to play Bridge.
3. Brain Games
Have you played Connect4, checkers or chess? These games help minds remain sharp as each play requires the participant to determine their next move.
4. Dice Games
Many say the secret to winning is in the flick of the wrist. Yahtzee challenges players to use math skills and keep track of scores. Other dice games are Sorry, Farkel and Backgammon.
5. Board Games
Clue is fun and exciting. Players need to keep track of who, what, when, where and how as well as movements and guesses of fellow players. Other board games are Monopoly, Chutes and Ladders, Life and Triopoly.
A Family Affair
Wouldn’t it be nice to see friends and family more often? You have all the ingredients to make a memorable game night at home. Get everyone together, make a couple of snacks and improve cognitive abilities while having a good time with those closest to you. Staying social is a relatively simple way to boost your cognitive skills.
Keeping your mind sharp is essential but doing it with people you love increases the fun. Feel good about doing something for yourself and your family!
Things to Remember
Aging is a natural progression in life but getting older doesn’t mean losing your edge. Eat well, get enough sleep, exercise, and use this information to help keep your brain in tip-top shape. Bridge to Better Living recognizes some of the struggles Seniors have while trying to stay healthy both physically and mentally.
Communities have programs specifically designed for health, exercise and mental well-being. Call 402-802-3301 to set up a consultation. Click here to meet our Transition Consultants. Questions? Visit our Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ) page to get more information. Bridge to Better Living is here for you.