Seniors and Mental Fitness – Keeping the Brain Sharp in the Golden Years

Seniors and Mental Fitness – Keeping the Brain Sharp in the Golden YearsMaking sure seniors stay physically active is important, but ensuring mental fitness among the aging population is just as crucial. Cognitive impairment affects as much as 25% of individuals over the age of 70, while more than five million people in the United States alone suffer from Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Cures for cognitive impairment and dementia have yet to be discovered, which means that effective forms of prevention are extraordinarily valuable. Thankfully, seniors can keep their minds sharp as they age – and avoid mental impairment – by exercising the brain!

Here are some tips for seniors to maintain their neural pathways and continue to produce healthy, new brain cells as they age:

Keep Learning

We live in the information age, which is wonderful when it comes to the opportunities seniors now have to challenge their brains. Staying current with the use of technology and communication tools like email, texting and social media helps the aging population stay connected, but it also challenges them to keep learning new things. The Internet is also a wonderful source of information for seniors who want to satisfy their curious minds. Unfortunately, the web is also full of opportunities for people to engage in mindless tasks, so it’s important for caregivers and family members to check in with the content seniors consume online.

Visit a New Place Once a Week

Routine is important for seniors, but breaking from routine occasionally is just as crucial for mental fitness. One fantastic way for seniors to keep challenging their minds is to visit a new place once every week. It’s not necessary to travel the globe to do this – simply visiting a new park or eating at a different restaurant is enough to stimulate brain activity.

Fun and Games

Board games, puzzles and brainteasers offer enjoyable ways to pass the time, but they also work to keep the brain sharp. These days, it’s even possible for friends and family members to engage in games with seniors miles and miles away through the use of technology. Whether its a crossword puzzle or a long-distance game of “Words with Friends,” these activities are terrific ways to exercise the mind.

The Sound of Music

Seniors and Mental Fitness – Keeping the Brain Sharp in the Golden YearsLearning how to play a musical instrument is a pleasurable way of challenging the brain and keeping it fit. Listening to music is also beneficial when it comes to giving the brain a workout. Seniors don’t need to become virtuosos in order to benefit – even the simplest melodies can enhance neural connections.

Continuing Education

One of the best ways to keep learning – and to meet new people – is to sign up for an adult-education class. People are eager to share their skills and talents by educating others, and seniors have the time and interest to learn meaningful things through local continuing education. Going “back to school” is a great way for seniors to feel youthful, and it’s a wonderful means of keeping the brain as sharp as a tack!

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