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Everyone knows exercise is essential for the body, but it can be easy to overlook exercise for the mind. Throughout World Alzheimer's Month, there have been many resources shared on dementia and Alzheimer's disease. But what can you and your family do now to keep your loved one's mind sharp?

As seniors age, some experience cognitive decline, impacting their ability to enjoy activities and maintain an active lifestyle. Cognitive decline is expected as we age, but there are things that seniors can do to help keep their minds sharp. At our six Buckner senior living communities, we offer daily activities to encourage both physical and mental activity.

One way is to engage in cognitive exercises and brain activities regularly. Luckily, many cognitive exercises for seniors can be used to improve memory. 

Brain activities for seniors

Chess

Chess has been a popular mind exercise game for centuries. It is an excellent hobby for seniors to keep their minds sharp. Some think chess is complicated or complex to pick up, but it is more accessible than you think. Seniors can even play online and get guided instructions if they are new to the game.

Chess requires creative thinking and strategy, so it is one of the seniors’ most effective brain activities. Finally, chess is a social game, and social interaction is another important part of overall brain health.

Play a game of recall with family

The game of recall is a brain exercise that is completely free and requires no skill. Family and friends gather around, tell stories, and try to recall specific details about past events. This could be identifying particular people, locations, outfits, or any random detail. 

Trying to remember details from past experiences is a good workout for the brain and can also be one of the most fun cognitive activities for elderly individuals. Consistent playing may even improve memory, and it can boost a senior’s confidence when they can recall details from the past.

Jigsaw puzzles

Jigsaw puzzles are another affordable and simple way to exercise the mind and are one of the seniors’ most versatile mental activities. They require strategy, critical thinking, and problem-solving. 

Some experts recommend that seniors work on the same jigsaw puzzle repeatedly. The brain will recognize the pattern and try to remember how to put the pieces together, which can be a good memory exercise. Jigsaw puzzles are also convenient because they come in varying levels of complexity and can take just a few minutes or several hours.

Arts and crafts

Brain activities for seniors are all about stimulating the mind, which is exactly what seniors can do through arts and crafts. Creating art and crafting works on both sides of the brain and is a good way for seniors to create something fun and even social. A few examples of crafts for seniors include:

  • Knitting
  • Crocheting
  • Origami
  • Painting
  • Beading
  • Ornamenting
  • Scrapbooking

When seniors take a break from a craft and return to it, their memory will automatically try to remember where they left off. Arts and crafts come in all varieties, and there is a craft for every skill level.

Digital memory games

Digital games often get a bad reputation for rotting the mind. However, the right games can be very beneficial for seniors in stimulating the brain and can be one of the best cognitive activities for elderly individuals. There are hundreds of brain games and memory games. 

Some are specifically designed for seniors and can be played on any connected device. Seniors can play at their leisure and enjoy the confidence boost of advancing through the game levels. Digital memory games are excellent cognitive exercises for seniors.

We provide many cognitive exercises to improve our residents’ lives and overall well-being. 

At Buckner Retirement Services, our staff aims to promote our residents’ physical and mental wellness. We encourage seniors’ physical activity and cognitive exercises to maintain their best health. 

Our care services are designed to provide the best quality of life for those in our care. 

Learn more about how we are inspiring happiness and engaging the mind and body at our Buckner senior living communities. 

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