Brain Fitness Program to Avoid Symptoms of Dementia
Dementia is one of the biggest fears of people as they get older, and because of this there is a lot research into different activities for senior citizen centers to offer their clients. The actual activity itself doesn’t make much of a difference, as long as it makes the brain think about new ideas and how to apply new knowledge to the current situation. The suggested activities to help prevent the symptoms of dementia fall into three broad categories: whole body, nurture and creative.
Whole Body Activities
Finding age appropriate activities for senior citizen centers to run is very hard, as each person’s body will be capable of different things. However, certain activities can help increase brain function by using more parts of the brain; some of the suggested activities are:
People who don’t exercise much as they get older are more likely to lose function in the part of the brain that co-ordinates muscle movements. As all parts of the brain are interlinked, this can have negative effect on social and cognitive abilities. These activities are also communal things to do where the senior citizens can interact, making and maintaining relationships.
For those senior citizens who aren’t very physically capable, or who prefer to be indoors, any activity that encourages nurturing to take place will be an integral part of their brain fitness program. Nurturing activities for senior citizen centers could include:
- Looking after a dog or cat. Many dog rescue charities will take retired greyhounds and seeing-eye dogs to senior citizen centers to be patted and groomed. These give the older people a new set of skills to learn and put into practice, as well as helping to maintain the links between body and brain
- Growing a bonsai tree. While outdoor gardening takes a lot of time and physical stamina, often beyond some senior citizens’ abilities, growing bonsai trees requires more in the way of mental exercise. Working to keep them alive and pruned, stimulates the brain, but doesn’t need much in the way of physical effort.
Nurturing activities provide a target for senior citizens to focus on. They help keep symptoms of dementia at bay because they require long-term thinking and planning.
The final category for activities to keep the brain young is anything that requires creativity. This could be:
- Learning new oil painting techniques
- Creative writing or poetry
- Learning how to take and manipulate digital photographs
- Taking up a musical instrument
The creative part of the brain likes to learn new information and create new neural pathways through the brain. Any creative activity will also be a long-term goal to focus on, as well as being a tool to keep the memory structures active to retain the newly learned information.
These three categories should provide inspiration for a whole range of activities for senior citizen centers to implement. Mental activities that require problem solving skills, such as crossword and Sudoku puzzles, will also help to keep the brain active by asking it to manipulate new information using previously learned rules.
Doing and learning something new will stimulate the brain.