Just because you’re no longer working or in school, that doesn’t mean you should let your mental muscles wither away. By continually challenging your brain and trying new things, you may be able to improve your memory, your critical thinking skills, and even your ability to hear. Plus, although you might find it tough at first, brain fitness for seniors is typically very fun – and you can do it from the comfort of your couch!
Brain Fitness for Seniors
Brain training programs often make great claims, and unfortunately many of those claims are unproven. However, neuroscientist Jerri Edwards at the University of South Florida conducted a rigorous study involving nearly 3,000 healthy older people, following them for 10 years after the study’s completion, to figure out which types of cognitive training are effective.
The only technique that was found to reduce rates of cognitive decline and dementia is known as speed-processing training, and it’s available online through a game called Double Decision by BrainHQ. The exercise tests how quickly and accurately you can see details that are straight ahead of you and in your peripheral vision. As you improve your skills and flex those cognitive muscles, the game will amplify its speed and difficulty to continue challenging you. It’s fun, easy to use, and will certainly stimulate your brain.
LACE and ReadMyQuips
Our brains play an important role in our ability to hear, so as you’re exploring brain fitness for seniors, consider hearing-related options that could help you with hearing loss or tinnitus (ringing or buzzing in the ears).
First, you could try LACE (which stands for Listening and Communication Enhancement) by Neurotone, which is a six-week course that retrains the brain to listen well with the assistance of hearing aids. This program has been proven to improve the user’s ability to separate speech from noisy listening environments. Second, have a go at ReadMyQuips by Sense Synergy, which also helps users better understand speech in noisy places. To play, you just listen to the quip (a witty remark) and then type in what you heard. Like LACE, the program will make the situation more challenging as you improve. Both LACE and ReadMyQuips have free trial offers so that you can test them before you commit to buying them.
Everyday Mental Exercises
You don’t have to sit at a computer or purchase a product to test your mental skills. These simple exercises will put your brain to the test:
- Test your recall: Make a list (of groceries, things to do, anything you like) and then memorize it. An hour or two later, see how many items you can recall on the list. The longer the list and the more obscure the items, the harder the game will be.
- Do math in your head. Before you grab a calculator, try to do basic math in your head – then check it with the calculator afterward. You can do this in real-life situations, such as when you’re tipping a waiter, figuring out how much you’ve spent on groceries, or determining how a coupon will affect your purchase. Or, you could make up math questions to test yourself.
- Draw a map from memory. After returning from a trip, try to draw a map of the area you explored. Or, draw a map from your past (such as the route you used to drive to work or to a friend’s house). Use Google Maps to check your accuracy afterward.
Finally, don’t be afraid to learn something new. If you’ve always dreamt of learning to speak Italian, to play the piano, or to knit your own sweater, why not give it a go? Brain fitness for seniors doesn’t have to be complicated. Simply stepping outside the box of your everyday routine can be beneficial.
Are you looking for an assisted living community in Tennessee? Check out Hearthside Senior Living. Our warm and inviting community makes it easy for seniors to embrace a healthy lifestyle, with home-cooked and restaurant-style meals, exercise classes, and a nurse devoted to residents’ health and wellness. To learn more about our amenities and services, please give us a call at 901-266-3329 or contact us online.