Keeping your mind active in older age can be a challenge. As we age, our brain function changes, and this coupled with the fact many older people are retired and cannot rely on work for mental stimulation means finding ways of keeping your mind active is important.
How does the brain work?
There has been much debate about brain function and what you can do to ensure you’re keeping your mind active in older age. AGE UK’s article with Dr Alan Gow offers an interesting take on the topic. Some studies have reported that the brain needs to be challenged in new ways in older age in order to stay healthy and that the ‘use it or lose it’ theory may not be that straightforward, but most people agree that if you find a healthy activity enjoyable it can only be beneficial to your overall wellbeing.
Trying a new hobby
As we age, each of us will experience the effects of getting older differently – some people may be more physically active than others, and some may find remembering things more challenging. Despite this, there are plenty of options for keeping your mind active in older age.
If you’ve always wanted to take up a hobby, such as doing a course or learning something new, but have fears about leaving the house due to mobility issues, lifeline support could help you to feel more confident and enable you to try new things that keep your brain active.
For those on a budget, thankfully there are plenty of cost effective ways to ensure you’re keeping your mind active as you age. Reading a book can be enjoyable yet stimulating and needn’t cost the earth. If you don’t have the budget to buy new books, charity shops often have a cheap selection, or if you are able to get to your local library, borrowing books is also a great option.
Crosswords and word searches are also good activities for keeping you thinking. They’re often included in newspapers or are available in books at a relatively low cost. For a stimulating yet relaxing activity, adult colouring books can be a great option. The intricate designs often require concentration, yet the act of creating something can also be a soothing way to unwind.
If you are retired and miss contributing to a project or organising things, volunteering or joining a local group that regularly meets is a great way to get mental stimulation through conversations and socialising. This can also help to combat loneliness, especially if you live alone or don’t have family or friends close by.
If you worry about occasional memory loss or require gentle reminders every so often to undertake tasks which causes you not to venture out often, telecare support could help. Products such as Mem-X or the Memo Minder Plus enable you to remain independent while offering peace of mind.
Stimulating your senses and maintaining a healthy lifestyle
Many studies about keeping your brain sharp in older age have discussed doing more extreme activities in order to keep the brain healthy. However, this is often counteracted by the fact that many people argue if you do a mentally stimulating activity you enjoy, you’re more likely to keep it up, and it can help to make you feel more positive, which in turn is a good thing for your mental health.
Eating the right foods such as oily fish and lowering your alcohol intake can help to improve overall health and concentration levels. A healthy diet and lifestyle can also help to decrease the risk of diseases affecting the mind, such as dementia.
Keeping your mind active in older age can also be made easier by ensuring you use all of your senses. This may sound odd, but often memories are triggered not only by thoughts, but also by certain smells or tastes so don’t ignore your other senses!
To find out more about how lifeline support could aid your memory and help you to feel more confident while trying new things, please contact us here.