Keeping seniors’ physical and mental health in check is always important as we get vulnerable with age. The mental health of seniors is something we don’t talk about much.
Regardless of conditions, people crave connection and someone to open up their hearts. So for caregivers, it’s essential to observe how your loved one is doing physically and mentally as it contributes to the overall well-being.
What are Brain Games?
While a physical fitness regimen aids the brain to function correctly, seniors might need more to keep their brains sharp. Here, brain games come into play. Brain games range from manuals like sudoku, chess, ludo, puzzles, board games, card games, and various mobile and web apps like solitaire online.
It can also include painting, playing a musical instrument, or reading a book. Regardless of conditions, seniors have far more life experience and wisdom. Unless there are memory-related diseases like Alzheimer’s and dementia, you can go on and on sharing those stories.
There is a lot of nuance in brain games for senior citizens. Brain engagement through activity doubles as brain games, unlike sleeping and sitting down idly. All the mentioned activities fall under that umbrella.
How can Brain Games Help Seniors?
There is a lot of research on how brain games help seniors keep their memory sharp. Cognitive skills gradually decline due to age, though the extent to which that happens varies. While physical exercise amplifies brain function, scientists believe brain games support the former’s benefits further.
According to scientists, the stimulation from brain games can build a cognitive reserve in a senior’s brain, which may guard against mental decline and improve memory. Brain games also may help seniors living with Alzheimer’s and dementia.
Brain games also have other benefits for seniors. These include socialization, a sense of independence, quick thinking, improved focus, developing a cooperative attitude, et cetera.
All of these contribute to the overall well-being of a person. There is wide variability in a senior’s mental fitness due to genetics and other factors, but scientists confidently say that playing brain games is an essential factor.
How Can Caregivers Help?
Caregivers for seniors include family members, nurses at home, and caring homes, depending on the situation. Seniors don’t necessarily need someone to stay by their side at all. Some specific times of the day are enough.
As a caregiver you want to do your job well and this requires work to connect with their clients and at the same time assist them in maintaining their well-being. Brain games are one fundamental way of doing just that.
Games like Ludo, Snake & Ladders, Monopoly, Scrabble, UNO, etc., demand attention from the players. They don’t take very long to play, and caregivers can have friendly matches with their senior friends.
Everyone can have fun, and the seniors can also do some brain exercise. Chess is an even more challenging exercise. If both parties can play chess well, it can be a great way to bond.
Putting together jigsaw puzzles is also another great way to interact with seniors. Putting together a jigsaw puzzle takes time and patience. But once it’s done, the satisfaction is otherworldly.
The caregiver and the senior can team up and discuss how they’ll join all the puzzle pieces. The puzzle doesn’t necessarily have to be completed in just a day. Everyone can take their time and let it be one of several mental exercises.
Regular conversations about life and its experiences can also double as brain games. A senior talking about something from the past means engaging the brain to recollect memories. Not only is an excellent mental workout done, but both parties also get a sense of acquaintance.
Reading a book may seem a solitary activity on the first impression, but caregivers can make it interactive. They can ask the seniors about what they’re reading. If the book is fictional, the seniors can talk about the characters without giving too much away or about certain plot aspects.
For non-fiction, they can discuss the key takeaways from the text. If you as a caregiver have already read the book prior, that’s even better. You can exchange opinions about the book. These discussions need brain engagement, so a mental workout is already done. You can also encourage seniors to learn something new, like painting or a musical instrument.
The best trick for making brain games do their job is mixing things up. The senior should be subject to an array of activities. For example, one day, they can do some painting and solve puzzles, and the next day, they can discuss books and play a board game. That way, the brain is consistently challenged, and a tremendous mental fitness regimen is done.
Though the efficacy of brain games on memory preservation is questionable, scientists do agree on the fact that it does help in keeping the brain sharp and refreshed.
The brain is, after all, a pound of muscle in the head that needs to engage itself from time to time to prevent ineffectiveness. Brain games are a key for caregivers who want to hit two birds with one stone. Not only can a caregiver nurture a beautiful relationship with seniors, but also they can help the latter with their mental health.