Once we reach age 60, our brains process and interpret information two to three times slower than when we were 20. This means it’s two to three times more difficult to recall information that we process. Memory loss and decline in cognitive function as we age can be due to many factors, such as health issues, stress and diet, but the good news is that there are plenty of ways to keep our brains in shape! Once such way is through regular mental workouts.
According to research at Stanford University, memory loss can be improved by 30 to 50 percent simply by doing mental exercises. The brain, like any other muscle, needs regular workouts or its functions will decline. Why? Mental activity helps improve neuroplasticity, your brain’s potential to reorganize and create new neural pathways that adapt and change to meet your needs.
By focusing on something new or challenging, such as learning a new language or playing a challenging game, our brains create new neural connections, which help us sharpen our new skill and thus improve our mind. Research even suggests that intellectual stimulation is associated with a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
Today’s plethora of online and offline brain games and brain-training exercises have been proven to help brains grow new, stronger neural connections. You can keep your brain in tip top shape with a blend of consistency and challenge.
At Bayshore Memory Care, we understand that, like any health endeavor, it takes a comprehensive plan to improve mental acuity, but games can be a quick and easy way to get started. Challenge yourself and have some fun by playing memory games as part of your daily and weekly routine. Here are some top games and resources:
AARP’s Staying Sharp
In addition to their regular lineup of online games, AARP’s Staying Sharp includes a brain health assessment, brain healthy articles, recipes, a tracking tool, and a lineup of memory-improving games such as Split Words, Sleight of Hands, Tower of Babel, and Find the Right Match — all of which have received great reviews from their users.
Try brushing your hair or writing your “to do” list with your non-dominant hand. Enjoy a scented candle and play your favorite tunes while remembering a special vacation. The book Keep Your Brain Alive, by Dr. Lawrence C. Katz, Ph.D. and Manning Robin, outlines 83 “neurobic” exercises – daily brain aerobics that use the five senses in unusual ways – that are scientifically proven to help your brain produce natural growth factors called neurotrophins that help fight off the effects of mental aging.
A leader in the brain training arena, NeuroNation offers over 60 exercises and nine personalized courses that train various brain functions on a daily basis to improve your working memory and cognition. These brain-training games and puzzles have been scientifically proven to strengthen your brain. Each course assesses your performance and adapts to your skill level, becoming increasingly difficult as you advance. Progress evaluations let you know your progress as well as strengths and weaknesses so you stay motivated. Developed in cooperation with top international scientists, this app incorporates the latest findings in Neuroscience and Cognitive Psychology and can be accessed via web or app.
Fit Brain Trainer
Fit Brains is a website that features more than 60 games to sharpen both your cognitive skills, such as memory attention and speed, as well as your emotional intelligence. Games are short, quick and challenging. You also can track your personal bests, progress and training streaks as well as compare your scores to other Fit Brains users. You can try it by signing up for a free trial or upgrade to one of their premium packages with pricing based on how often you want to pay.
Different from many brain-training apps, Clevermind is a voice-activated iPad app to help stimulate the cognitive abilities of seniors and, in particular, people with Alzheimer’s or dementia. In addition to a collection of entertaining games and mind-sharpening trivia, Clevermind features nutrition and exercise information, links to social media, news, music, movies and audiobooks, and includes a Writing & Pictures category to write, keep track of personal goals and store your photos and videos. Clevermind is available through Apple’s App Store.
These are just a few of the top brain game and brain-training resources and apps on the market today. Just search “brain games for seniors,” and have fun exploring!
Bayshore Memory Care in Naples, Fla., is a state-of-the-art community designed solely for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We combine the best state-of-the-art design, personalized and specialized services, and high-end amenities in a refreshingly elegant setting. Our Heartfelt Connections™ Memory Care Program is nationally recognized for offering people with Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases that affect the mind, the care and resources they need to maintain physical and emotional well-being and a high quality of life.
The next generation in senior living memory care is right here in Naples—it’s a beautiful place to live.
For more information regarding the services offered at Bayshore, visit our Contact Us page, or call 239-213-9370.