If you don’t use it, you can lose it! This is true not only for our body muscles; it is also true for our brain.
According to the Alzheimer Society of Canada, half a million Canadians have Alzheimer’s disease, or related dementia. Let’s not look at this as just an unfortunate fact, but a fact we can try to change for the positive.
Did you know that exercising the brain prevents the deterioration of the mind? Keeping the mind active can help reduce the onset of dementia by boosting brain activity. Although, keep in mind that scientists have not yet found an exact cause or cure for Alzheimer’s disease.
Engaging in rich brain exercise, for 15 minutes each day keeps the brain active and can even improve functioning. When inquiring what people do for their brain health, we often hear, “I complete a crossword puzzle each day.” This is great, however, this type of brain game is only exercising one key brain function.
Below are types of brain functions we should be exercising regularly. Also included are some examples of some brain games for all ages including most stages of Alzheimer’s disease.
Memory: To store and recall information
Game suggestions: The Better Memory Kit, Go Fish
Focus: To improve ability to prioritize and organize
Game suggestions: Spot it, Pix Mix
Coordination: To enhance sensory perception & improve motor skills
Game suggestions: Colour Code, Ball/Balloon toss
Critical Thinking: To develop skills of logic & reasoning to solve problems faster
Game suggestions: Qwirkle, Meta Forms
Word Skill:To increase verbal confidence & communication
Game suggestions: Anomia, Crosswords
To learn more about the above brain games and many others; visit my favourite online brain fitness store called, Nognz at www.nognz.com.
Other ways to maintain a healthy brain include:
Exercising your physical body– Any exercise will work! Such as swimming, walking, jogging, and dancing.
Staying social– Family visits, facebook, volunteer work or going out for a meal are all ways to be social.
Obtaining adequate sleep– 7-8 hours is ideal.
Eating healthy– Eating plenty of Antioxidants to minimize the free radicals in our bodies such as berries and dark green vegetables. Fish oils and Omega 3’s help with anti-inflammation. Don’t forget to include daily protein.
Keeping your stress levels low– If our bodies remain on high alert in a stressful state for a prolonged period of time, this can result in damage to our body. When we are stressed our body will release cortisol. Cortisol reduces the activity of our white blood cells. We require our white blood cells to help us fight off infections.
Getting your hearing checked– Studies have been linked to hearing loss and dementia. Currently, scientists are not certain if the hearing loss causes dementia or if dementia causes hearing loss.
Incorporating daily brain exercises and making other healthy lifestyle changes can help maintain a healthy brain and fend off or delay Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
Now off you go… and do a fun brain activity with a loved one today! 🙂
Karen Tyrell, CDP
Dementia Consultant and Educator
Personalized Dementia Solutions