Did you know that mental stimulation can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s or other types of dementia? A lot of people have heard this in the past, though they may not take it seriously as they should or could, especially from midlife on. However, did you also know that some research studies indicate that mental stimulation, even after formal diagnosis for Alzheimer’s, may help to slow down the progression of memory loss (Fisher Center for Alzheimer’s Research Foundation)? Having personal care at home services to work with your loved one would be beneficial.
The studies are still ongoing to determine exactly why this is the case, but if you understand the brain is a muscle, like all other muscles in the body, it makes sense.
If you have weakness in your legs, what do you do to gain strength? You exercise them. Maybe you start out with slow, casual walks that eventually lead to jogging, running, or sprinting. Maybe go swimming or cycling. Whatever you do, pushing those muscles helps to strengthen them.
The same holds true for the heart muscle. If your doctor has told you to exercise and elevate the heart rate for at least 15 minutes every day to strengthen your heart, why would she tell you that? Because the only way for the muscles to become stronger, is to exercise.
Now, the brain is quite a bit different than the muscles in your leg or even the ones in your heart. However, exercise can make a world of difference. That’s exactly what mentally stimulating activities can do.
Now, what types of activities may stimulate the brain in the right way and how personal care at home can help?
Strategic thinking games.
Have you ever played chess? If not, this is a wonderful game that requires you to think ahead. It requires you to strategize, to consider your opponent’s moves, what their potential moves will be, and what your options are.
It requires concentration. That is why chess and other strategic thinking games can be so beneficial at helping aging seniors diagnosed with Alzheimer’s potentially delay the more serious components of memory loss. And remember, even if it’s just for a couple of months, a couple of months of more control, more autonomy, and a higher quality of life the senior can hold onto.
Reading and writing.
Reading, especially reading fictional novels or nonfiction books that are rich in description, can stimulate the brain quite a bit. That’s because these descriptions require the individual to use their own experiences to paint a frame of reference from the words.
Writing is an incredibly beneficial active activity that stimulates the neural structures in the brain significantly. Writing one’s memoir, a journal every day about what they do, and so on can be a simple, yet tremendously beneficial activity for seniors with Alzheimer’s.
Doing the crossword puzzle.
Maybe the senior has never done the crossword puzzle before. That’s okay. There are plenty of beginner crossword puzzles that help seniors get the hang of things, understand how they work, and get a frame of reference.
Then, when the senior is doing them consistently, every day, they are enjoying some great mental stimulation that could have a positive impact on their mental function in the years ahead.