If you have been following my #ActiveApril program you will know that my Get Active – Feel Alive not only includes physical activity but also activity to keep our Minds sharp and alert.
There are more than 400,000 people in Australia with dementia. Of those people, about 55% are women. More than 50% of residents in Australian residential aged care facilities have dementia.
Keep your aging brain sharp with Mind Games
Mental Health can improve by exercising your brain. There are many ways we can keep our minds active, use our brains and keep alert as we age. Here are just a few examples:
Bingo! Legs Eleven, Sixty-Six Clickety Click
I regularly volunteer at my MILs aged care home. Recently, I’ve started helping with Bingo. Here in Australia when you mention the game Bingo you automatically think of very old people, sitting in a hall, waiting to shout BINGO if they have won. At first I was amused as I observed the residents but after a while I realised that it was great therapy for their brains.
- They need to listen for the number that is called
- They need to concentrate while the game is in progress. I found it quite confusing at first, as there are several types of games that they play – full house or 5 in a line, bottom row or top row. This makes them think and remember which game they are playing.
- They need to be able to check if they have that particular number
- They need to understand the rules of the game
- They become competitive – even if the prize is only a chocolate
Keep Learning – Use it or Lose it
I love to learn and since retiring and starting the blog, I find I am regularly taking online courses. I recently completed a Life Coaching Certification and a Health & Nutrition Coaching Certification. Both were of great value to me and I look forward to sharing with you ways to improve our lives, be healthier and happier especially in the next phase of our Third Age.
There are literally thousands of courses you can take from hobbies to full on University degrees. How often have you read about someone in their 90s graduating from University. You are never too old!
I was reading an article The Healing Power of Jigsaw Puzzles and did you know they have been around since the 1700s? I know my BBB (Best Blogging Buddy), Leanne Le Cras from Cresting the Hill is an avid fan of Jigsaws and was given a gift of a 1,000 piece jigsaw that was a family montage put together by our daughter and then sent off to be turned into a jigsaw.
When I visit my MIL’s aged care home, there is a gentleman who spends part of his day doing Jigsaw Puzzles. They are very intricate with some having 1,000 pieces or more. He takes his time and each day completes a little more until he has finished. Jigsaw puzzles can be very tricky especially that one piece you just can’t find!
In the article, on JigsawJungle it mentions:
Studies, like the notable MacArthur study, have shown that keeping the mind active with jigsaw puzzles and other mind-flexing activities can actually lead to a longer life expectancy, a better quality of life, and reduce our chances of developing certain types of mental illness, including memory loss, dementia, and even Alzheimer’s Disease (by an amazing third).
Crosswords or Sudoko are great ways to make us think. I had an Uncle who could complete a Cryptic Crossword in a matter of minutes. I’ve yet to master that and Sudoko but I can try.
Keep Dancing it isn’t just good for your physical fitness
I love dancing and I shared with you my history of learning and then teaching ballet and other forms of dance. I have never done Ballroom dancing but would love to. I’ve tried Zumba and that was great fun. I had to concentrate because it is fast paced and you really need your brain and feet in sync that is for sure.
In my post Why You Should be Dancing After 60 I mentioned that studies have shown
Volunteers (average age 68) over 18 months, were given either a weekly course of learning dance routines or training in flexibility and endurance. ‘Both groups showed an increase in the hippocampus (part of the temporal lobe) region of the brain. This is important because this area can be prone to age-related decline and is affected by diseases like Alzheimer’s. It also plays a key role in memory and learning, as well as keeping one’s balance.’
Foods to Boost Your Brain Power & Memory
I recently read an article 11 Best Foods to Boost Your Brain & Memory. I’ve linked to the full article and listed the foods below. Are any of these included in your eating plan?
- Oily Fish – salmon, trout, sardines
- Pumpkin Seeds
- Dark Chocolate
- Greet Tea
These are just a few ways we can keep our aging brains sharp. Have you tried any of my suggestions? Do you have others you can add to the list?