How Seniors Can Boost Their Brain Health and Memory in 2021
Published on April 16, 2021
The brain is the epicenter of the entire body. It controls our thoughts, our actions, and above all, it’s a representation of our overall health. Boosting brain power and practicing memory stimulating processes is important at any age, but it’s especially crucial for seniors living in retirement communities in Ontario.
Daily brain exercises and games for seniors have a lot of benefits. They can help improve memory, uplift the mood, and reduce the effects of depression, anxiety, and other mental disorders. Seniors living in lockdown need to find new and interesting ways to not only pass the time, but enjoy different types of experiences. Whether it’s getting reacquainted with an old beloved game or hobby or learning a new skill, if you’re looking for some ideas on how to boost brain health and memory for seniors during the pandemic, then you’ve come to the right place.
Engage in Memory Exercises Regularly
Practicing small memory exercises frequently such as recalling the plot of a TV show, movie, or book or memorizing items on your grocery list to the best of your ability are great ways to improve your memory. Other great memory boosting exercises can include memorizing the lyrics to your favourite songs, drawing pictures of people’s faces from memory, or even doing mathematical equations in your head. These activities force your brain to work hard to come up with the correct outcome, which strengthens your recollection capabilities.
Learn a New Skill or Hobbyphysical activities can give you a renewed sense of pride and accomplishment. Start by setting small, achievable goals for yourself and track your progress along the way. The more you learn, the more you expand your brain’s capacity to process and store new information by extending your cognitive functions.
Play Mentally Stimulating Games
Studies have shown that mentally stimulating games such as strategic board games, card games, brain training games like Mah-jong, Tetris, and many more can actually strengthen the memory capacity of seniors. Word and number games in particular such as Scrabble, crossword puzzles, word searches, and Sudoku can have a particularly positive impact on brain function and memory. These types of games and activities force players to think strategically, recall specific relevant facts, and reach certain outcomes by relying on logic and strong thinking skills.
Successfully Manage Mental Stress
These days, keeping mental stress, anxiety, and depression under control is a lot easier said than done. But it’s also more important than ever to openly and candidly talk about the things that are currently triggering stress. It’s essential for seniors to find ways to relieve feelings of stress and anxiety. Keeping the mind occupied with stimulating activities such as reading a good book, watching an interesting TV show or movie, or participating in virtual calls with family and friends can help offset some of the fears and anxieties that seniors living in retirement communities may be feeling.
Prioritize Good Nutrition and Exercise
Eating a well-balanced diet that’s full of healthy and delicious foods along with maintaining a consistent exercise schedule is imperative to improving and maintaining excellent physical and mental health. Even doing low to moderate impact exercises such as going for long walks, yoga, Pilates, cardio, and light stretches can help to significantly improve your dopamine levels.
Dopamine is a neurotransmitter that the brain releases when it’s happy. When you eat good food and exercise regularly, your body produces more dopamine and this can contribute to extremely healthy and efficient brain function. Going for long walks around your community is also a great way to unwind and take your mind off things as you enjoy the scenery and greet your neighbours.
Vitamin B6, B9, and B12 are particularly good for improving brain health because they aid in the breakdown of homocysteine, which is an amino acid. High levels of homocysteine have been known to contribute to arterial damage and blood clots. It’s also a sign of vitamin B12 (folate) deficiency, which has been linked to posing a greater risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Another benefit of B vitamins is that they aid in the development of new brain cells, which also strengthens memory and other cognitive functions.
Foods that are rich in B vitamins include dairy (milk, cheese, eggs), dark green leafy vegetables (spinach and kale), liver, kidney, chicken, red meat, seafood (tuna, mackerel, salmon, shellfish), and the list goes on.
Flex Your Creativity
Participating in virtual arts and crafts classes, working on that novel you’ve always wanted to write, writing poetry, painting, or even knitting a sweater and other garments are all great ways to flex your creativity and beat boredom. Focusing on these tasks and creating something unique and beautiful for yourself or someone else is a great stress reliever and forces your brain to concentrate on the task at hand, whether you’re learning something new or reinstating a beloved pastime.
Take Advantage of Mental Health Resources
Seniors who are contending with mental health disorders don’t have to face it on their own. They can take advantage of a number of mental health resources and services that retirement communities in Ontario have to offer. For instance, V!VA Retirement Communities recently launched the V!VA Values Seniors’ Mental Health initiative to help seniors who are dealing with mental health issues get easy access to the help they need.
With eight locations throughout Ontario, V!VA Retirement Communities is committed to completely revamping old notions of what retirement and senior living should be. We provide delicious and health-conscious meals made by Red Seal chefs and offer a senior living experience unlike any other with a focus on overall mental and physical well-being. Contact us today or book an in-person or virtual tour of one of our locations to learn more.