You’ve likely heard the saying “use it or lose it,” and the advice is vital for an aging senior’s brain. Getting older increases the risk of dementia, memory loss, and stroke, but loneliness and isolation in seniors can also produce negative physical changes in the brain.
Still, cognitive decline is not unavoidable, and with the assistance of a family member or a professional caregiver, these four strategies could engage your loved one’s brain and help to keep it active for a longer period.
How Seniors Can Stay Sharp
Reading, crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and games are excellent ways to keep your loved one’s mind busy. Painting or playing an instrument are both mentally stimulating activities.
The physical state of your loved one can impact the kind of activities that are possible. Seniors can benefit from expert caregivers who can help them exercise their minds and bodies. Along with assisting the house, caregivers can visit your senior to provide companionship and assist with activities your loved one enjoys.
Make Healthy Lifestyle Choices
Maintaining general fitness benefits the body and the mind, so keeping your senior active can minimize memory loss and cognitive decline. Mild exercise can be very beneficial because more blood flows to the brain when the pulse is elevated.
Other healthy lifestyle choices that can help to prevent mental decline include:
- Getting sufficient sleep
- Not smoking
- Limiting alcohol
- Eating a balanced diet
A professional caregiver can assist with meal preparation to ensure that your loved one is eating nutritious, well-balanced meals and assisting with exercise.
Any mental stimulation benefits your loved one, but learning new things can be particularly useful. Even as you age, your brain can continue to grow, and new and possibly more challenging tasks may help your loved one’s brain compensate for the decline associated with old age.
Your senior may be interested in classes or activities offered by a local senior center or library. Your senior’s ability to stimulate his or her brain will not be hampered by being housebound. Introduce him to a fun mobile or tablet app. Borrow books from the library. Look for online classes that might be of interest to your senior. Companion care can be quite helpful in this situation, as a trained caretaker will be pleased to chat to him about a new interest and assist him in any way possible in furthering his education.
Seniors with a strong social support network have been shown to have lower cognitive impairment levels than those without. If your loved one is well enough, visiting a senior facility or visiting friends could be a fantastic way to be socially active.
Hiring a professional caregiver to provide companion care for your senior is a terrific alternative if he or she is less mobile. The caregiver will have prior experience working with seniors and will be able to assist your loved one in remaining socially stimulated. While the professional caregiver is visiting, he or she may also assist your loved one around the house with chores that have become too much for them.
Schedule Senior Care Services
If you’re interested in our compassionate senior care services for you or a loved one, contact Home Care Assistance of Greater Burlington today for an in-home consultation!