Staying active is a very important part of growing older, and that doesn’t only mean being physically active. Keeping our brains active is crucial because as we get older, it’s normal for our cognitive abilities to begin to decline. Many of us will find that we aren’t as sharp as we once were when it comes to thinking, speaking, learning, recalling specific memories or facts, and tapping into our critical thinking skills. That’s why everyone should engage in more brain stimulating activities, especially seniors.
Why brain stimulating activities are important
Your brain is similar to a muscle in that you can exercise it, improve its function, and keep it healthy by regularly engaging in stimulating activities. When you reach retirement age, you undoubtedly want to relax and enjoy a slower, more peaceful life. After all, you’ve worked hard to get to this point and deserve to enjoy the ideal retirement lifestyle. However, when you let your brain sit idle, you risk quicker cognitive decline and losing the abilities that allow you to remain independent in your senior years. With that being said, here are some of our favorite brain stimulating activities for seniors.
Seniors can enjoy so many different types of puzzles: traditional jigsaw, crossword, word search, Sudoku, and more. Puzzles can be enjoyed year-round, but they’re especially great for the colder months when most people prefer to stay warm indoors. They’re also ideal for rainy days when you need something to do, and many people can “escape” for hours with a good puzzle.
Puzzles are an excellent brain stimulating activity because they require seniors to use their problem-solving skills while searching for patterns and paying attention to details. They’re also very accessible for older adults who have mobility limitations. If you’ve ever completed a jigsaw puzzle, then you know how detailed they can be, and they require very close and careful attention.
Reading is a hobby you can get into at any age. More importantly, it is linked to a number of positive cognitive outcomes for seniors, including sharpening decision-making skills, enhancing memory retention, reducing stress, and sleeping better. If you’ve tried to get into reading during your younger years, but it never piqued your interest, why not try again? Choose a topic or a genre you find interesting, and set yourself a challenge of reading 20 – 30 pages each day. Starting small is a great way to ease into reading, and you may soon find you’ve finished a book in 24 hours!
Arts & Crafts
Arts and crafts aren’t just for kids. Creativity has no age limit, and artsy projects are a great way to flex your creative muscles and try something new. Art projects not only keep your brain busy, they keep your hands busy too! Dabbling in different craft projects is a great way to discover a new hobby like knitting, embroidery, painting, drawing, or woodworking.
Taking up a craft like quilting also allows you to create sentimental, hand-made gifts for your loved ones. Perhaps you can knit your grandchildren some scarves, or crochet a sweater for your children. Gifts from the heart are always the most special.
Gardening is a fantastic way to keep your body and your mind active. Recalling the names of various plants and flowers, as well as being responsible for taking care of them, helps seniors with their memory skills. Indoor gardens can be enjoyed year-round, while outdoor gardens are ideal for the spring and summer months.
This blog was originally published at https://umcommunities.org/umc-corp/blog/brain-stimulating-activities-for-seniors/