Brain Games - Elderly Activities for the Mind
The brain is the highest functioning organ in the human body. Without the brain, you couldn't do the things you take for granted -filing your fingernails, tossing a penny into a wishing well, laughing at the antics of your grandchild, or give your loved one a hug.
Nevertheless, the brain does so much more than that. Your brain gives you the power to think, reason, and solve problems. Your brain offers you unlimited potential in your physical health, as well as your mental aptitude and your emotional well-being. As with any other organ in your body, you've got to exercise it, feed it, and take good care of it in order for it to offer you its fullest potential.
Keeping the Mind Healthy
Unfortunately, some medical conditions can deprive your brain of its functioning capabilities and capacity. Conditions like dementia and Alzheimer's or neuromuscular disease processes such as Huntington's and Parkinson's disease can slowly rob you of your ability to function physically and mentally. However, don't be mistaken into thinking that brain decline comes along with normal aging.
Brain decline is not part of the normal aging process. While your brain may slow down a little, it is by no means degenerating just because you're getting older. Sure, we all forget where we put things once in awhile, but that's no cause for alarm. Even teenagers forget where they put things.
To keep your mind is healthy and as highly functioning as possible, you've got to exercise it. You can exercise your brain through mind or brain games that can be done at home, at work, or even in an assisted living or long-term care facility.
Types of Brain Games
Any type of stimulation to the brain offers benefits. For example, thinking and reasoning games such as Sudoku, crossword puzzles, word problems and trivia games can help processing speed as well as reasoning capabilities.
Here are just a few ideas of some mind stimulating brain games you can play either by yourself or with others for fun. Play games to help keep your brain limber, and to help increase memory, speed, and functional thinking capabilities:
* Jigsaw puzzles -
jigsaw puzzles incorporate your vision and tactile senses. Touching a puzzle piece, turning it this way and that, and looking for places where shapes coincide and fit together are great way to force the mind to establish neural pathways between what you see, what you feel, and how those two senses work together.
* Crossword puzzles -
encourage memory, retention and exercise that forces the brain to remember links between a word definition or description and the word itself, figuring out how many spaces to fill and possible solutions.
* Learning activities -like taking up a new hobby, craft or skill create new neural pathways in the brain. Experts state that one of the best things that you can do to stimulate the mind is encourage the brain to learn new things. Whether you decide to take up French, oil painting, or square dancing, new experiences help the brain grow, regardless of your age.
* Brain challenging activities -temporarily confusing the brain is also beneficial in overcoming disabilities, as well as helping the brain adapt to moments of confusion. For example, when was the last time you tried brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand? Instead of throwing a rock into the pond with your right hand, try doing it with your left. The results are not only hilarious, but go to show that coordination is all in the mind.
Have Fun and Play
One of the best ways to keep the mind stimulated and active is to have fun and play. You're never too old for a good laugh. You're never too old to act silly or to play a brain game. Who says you have to act dignified and somber when you reach a certain age? Keep the mind and the brain young, engaged and highly functioning by stimulating it as often as possible. Challenge your brain and your elderly parents' brain during in home care to work for you and them and you'll be surprised at the results.
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