Change is Exercise for your Brain

 

activebrainLast week we talked about ways to help seniors overcome mental barriers keeping them from achieving their fitness resolutions.

Keeping your body healthy is something most people have a god idea how to do. Finding the motivation takes some more effort, but we know what we should be doing. Mental health isn’t as clear.

Studies have shown that keeping your brain active can hold off diseases such as Dementia. But how do you keep it active?

Games such as Lumosity on for smart phones and tablets promise to keep your brain sharp. But staring at a screen or holding a large tablet isn’t always an option for our aging loved ones.

Puzzles, logic riddles, and reading are great ways to stimulate your brain. But sometimes those can be hard to fit into a daily routine.

There are easy ways to stimulate your brain everyday though, and they don’t take a lot of extra effort. They key is to shake things up. Switch out your routines. Dismiss your autopilot.

Brains love variety. But taking the same route home every day becomes automatic. Walking through your house with pictures in the same place they’ve been for ten years puts your brain on auto-pilot. Schedules help to remind you to take pills or do certain chores, but your brain eventually stops noticing the things that happen every day.

Here are some suggestions to keep your brain on its toes.

Take the Road Less Traveled. Prevent your, or your passengers’ brains from going on autopilot. Take the long way home or make a point to drive by a spot you know is pretty. Use a map instead of relying on GPS. You never know what new parts of the city you’ll discover or what memories you might trigger.

Shuffle the Deck. Move around the pictures in your home. Or, better yet, change the places of pictures in your senior loved one’s home and surprise their brain! After a while pictures can fade into the background and our brains stop noticing them. But if you change them up your brain will be stimulated by the fresh new look. Instead of moving around family photos, you could also try decorating for each new holiday. Flag pictures at the Fourth of July can be traded out for Memorial photos of loved ones before getting switched out for haunting Halloween pictures. If your loved one still has good mobility you can even try rearranging the furniture!

Learn a New Trick. This can be as simple as trying to write your name with your off hand or as vigorous as learning a new language. New skills and information are like exercises for your brain. The more you learn, the more connections grow in your brain. Neurobics is engaging a different part of your brain to accomplish familiar tasks – trying to use your non-dominate had for instance.

You know that you have to keep your body in motion to remain healthy. The same goes for your brain. If you need any help taking care of the day to day routine things, let us take care of it for you so you can have more time to exercise your brain.

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