Participation in regular mental activities is crucial for seniors as they go through the aging process, whether they live in their own home, with their children or at an assisted living facility like Country Home in Parker.
These activities can include anything from arts and crafts projects and computer games, to playing cards and even telling the stories of their lives.
One important note, according to a study by the New England Journal of Medicine, is that these activities should be new or different types of activities. If they’ve been a reader all their life, reading a book will not have the same impact as taking up painting or playing a game of bridge if they’ve never been an artist or card player.
Learning a new hobby or taking up a new craft will stimulate brain cells and provide interaction with others.
Some of these types of activities help out in other ways. For example, an arts and crafts project can help maintain eye and hand coordination and fine motor skills. Folks who want to tell stories about their lives will find an added benefit from the social interaction that the conversation provides.
Finally, if the seniors like what they are doing, that will stimulate their brains even more by sending electrical impulses that signal pleasure from the activity.
So if you have elderly relatives who need a little brain stimulation and have never thought of themselves as artists, bring out some paints and some paper and see what happens!
If that doesn’t work, try dragging out the old Monopoly game or cards for a game of bridge or double solitaire. Chances are they’ve played these games in the past and now is a great time to play them again.
Or try giving your loved ones a new puzzle book every couple of weeks, so they can stretch their minds with its Cryptograms, logic problems, Sudoku and crossword puzzles.
At Country Home, we organize a variety of activities for our residents. In fact, some of the results of our arts and crafts projects can be seen throughout the assisted living facility in the form of painted rocks in the entry way, wreaths on residents’ doors and decorated aprons.
But we also invite families to bring in activities that can be shared with their loved ones and maybe even some of the other residents. There’s nothing like a good game of Bingo or Monopoly to get the brain clicking!