Cognitive decline is a natural part of aging, but there are some steps seniors can take to boost their brain health. Seniors who challenge themselves mentally can delay a variety of common health problems such as dementia and short-term memory loss.
Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality home care. Anchorage families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably. Professional caregivers discuss a few unique ways your loved one can boost his or her brain health.
1. Use the Other Hand
When carrying out a repetitive task like brushing teeth, there is little to no activity in the brain. This is because the brain’s existing neural pathways tell the hands what to do. By using the opposite hand for everyday tasks, seniors can create new neural pathways. Although brushing teeth with the opposite hand is a great place to start, seniors can easily find different ways to use the other hand throughout the day. Once your loved one has mastered simple tasks with the other hand, he or she can then try more complex movements such as writing or using silverware.
2. Engage in Mindfulness Exercises
A team of neuroscientists has recently discovered that mindfulness exercises can have a positive impact on cognitive health. Led by Dr. Sara Lazar of Harvard University, this team had 16 seniors carry out 45 minutes of guided meditation every day for two months. At the end of those eight weeks, all 16 seniors had increased activity in their frontal lobes. This area of the brain is responsible for reasoning and planning.
3. Start Dancing
Exercising not only enhances physical health, but it also impacts cognitive health. When a senior learns a new dance, multiple areas of his or her brain will be activated at the same time. Unlike repetitive exercises such as jogging, dancing requires a person’s full attention. There are many different nonprofit organizations that cater to seniors who would like to learn how to dance.
Coloring is an excellent therapeutic activity for older adults. Much like meditation, this habit suppresses the production of the stress hormone known as cortisol. This hormone has been attributed to many mental health conditions ranging from depression to dementia. Unlike coloring books for children, adult coloring books generally have complex designs and themes. This pastime is also a wonderful activity for seniors who would like to reduce their risk of arthritis in the hands and wrists.
Coloring therapy also helps reduce agitation in seniors with Alzheimer’s. If your elderly loved one is living with Alzheimer’s and needs help managing the symptoms, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of Alzheimer’s care. Anchorage seniors can rely on our revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program that helps slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. CTM also encourages seniors to engage with others in an enjoyable way and helps them build new routines to look forward to.
5. Manage Insomnia
Seniors who do not get enough sleep every night often find it difficult to focus on complex tasks and problems. However, insomnia is a very common problem among the elderly, with around 40 percent of adults over age 65 living with this condition. Seniors can manage insomnia by making certain lifestyle changes such as reducing their caffeine intake and setting a strict sleep schedule.
Persistent insomnia and lack of physical activity are some of the many risk factors for dementia and memory loss in aging adults. A dementia diagnosis can be difficult for seniors and their families to face. If you need help caring for your aging loved one while he or she manages the challenges of dementia, turn to Home Care Assistance of Anchorage. Dementia care isn’t the only thing we specialize in. All of our hourly and live-in caregivers are also trained to assist seniors during stroke recovery and help those living with Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s maintain a higher quality of life. To create a care plan for your senior loved one with dementia, Alzheimer’s, or other cognitive impairment, call us at (907) 770-0907 today.