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SHARPEN YOUR MEMORY SKILLS AND HAVE FUN WHILE YOU’RE AT IT

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By Maria Burke, RN, Owner, Celtic Angels Home Health Care

Memory loss is a real concern for seniors. Whether you’re having trouble remembering names and dates or you’re worried about developing dementia in the future, it makes sense to keep your mind as sharp as you can. But that doesn’t mean you have to do boring memory drills. Here are five mind-sharpening activities that can be fun, too!

  1. Exercise

Exercise might not be at the top of your list when you think of things that keep your mind sharp, but maybe it should be! When you exercise, you increase blood flow to all areas of your body, including your brain. And your body releases endorphins, which make you feel good, too.

But you don’t have to lift weights at the gym if you don’t find that enjoyable. Pick something fun! Dance, take a swim, walk around the park, or play catch with your grandkids. As long as you’re moving, you’re exercising!

  1. Eat!

OK, we’re not talking about cookies and donuts here, but eating is an enjoyable activity that sharpens your mind, as long as you’re making healthy choices. Choose lots of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. And consider giving the Mediterranean diet a try. Research has found that people who adhered to the Mediterranean diet were almost 20% less likely to have memory problems than those who didn’t!

And remember, healthy food doesn’t have to be boring. Try cooking with family members or friends and put effort into plating your food. That way, it’s an experience you enjoy!

  1. Socialize

Keeping your social connections is more important than you may think when it comes to sharpening your mind. That’s because when you’re isolated, you’re more likely to be stressed and depressed. And being stressed and depressed makes you more likely to suffer from memory loss.

So have a movie night with your family, spend time with your grandkids, invite friends over for an ice cream social, or join a book club. And if you have trouble leaving the house or live far from loved ones, take advantage of technology to video chat whenever possible.

  1. Find a New Hobby

Trying something new is always a good way to sharpen your mind. Taking classes, learning to play an instrument, writing a story, and experimenting with art are all good choices.

Playing games can be excellent for your brain, too. There are many video games and puzzles designed to help keep your mind sharp. Or, if you prefer, you can start up a weekly bridge game with friends or simply do crossword puzzles at home. The important thing is to have fun and challenge your brain!

  1. Use Mental Tricks

It’s frustrating when you can’t remember things like words and names. Thankfully, there are tricks that can help. And if you incorporate them into your daily life, they can become a fun challenge, too. Next time you need to remember someone’s name, try to think of an object or image you can associate with it. For example, if your new neighbor’s name is Tom, you can think of a “Tom cat.”

Incorporating your senses can help keep your brain sharp, too. Smell has been found to be particularly helpful to memory. Use your senses to make a game out of trying to guess ingredients when you eat out, the types of birds you hear chirping, or even what might happen next on your favorite TV show. These mental tricks challenge your brain and create cues that help jog your memory.

Need help with mind-sharpening activities? We’re happy to help. Check out some of our many services at www.celticangelsinc.com

About the Author: Maria Burke, RN, is owner and founder of Celtic Angels Home Health Care. Maria Burke was born in Midleton, County Cork, Ireland. She is the eldest of six and immigrated to the United States in 1988 to pursue a nursing degree to become a registered nurse. She served as a visit- ing nurse and from there, launched her own home health care company. Celtic Angels has two offices; Weymouth and Needham and provides a full array of the highest quality in-home health care services with certified and skilled CNAs, HHAs, and RNs. ∞

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