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5 Tips to Keeping a Healthy Mind as You Age

posted on Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Early-onset Alzheimer's can present itself as young as 30 and it is strongly inherited, affecting generation after generation, according to the Fisher Center for Alzheimer's Research Foundation. As a health and wellness leader in Iowa for older adults, we strive to offer progressive solutions to improve the quality of life for every resident at every stage of their life. For those living with dementia, we have taken an innovative approach to bringing in best in class programs which leverage technology to ensure that all those we serve can experience optimal well-being," explained Heidi Long, WesleyLife Director of Health and Well-Being.

Whether you are a recent college graduate, a resident in one of our WesleyLife communities, or looking to be proactive, it is always important to keep your mind active. Here are five tips to engage your mind that will give your brain a workout, keeping it healthy for a lifetime!

1. Maintain Daily Socialization

In 2008, researchers at the University of Michigan conducted a study to measure memory and intellectual performance. They found that individuals who had social interaction tested better than those who spend their time isolated.

We believe that it is important that all of our clients have some sort of daily contact with others. Whether it is a home care aid or a friend, companionship is important. There are many ways to stay involved at WesleyLife or at home. Regularly visit family members, enroll in an adult education class or participate at community gatherings!

2. Keep Your Mind Active

Games and puzzles are fun, simple ways to keep your mind active. Challenge a friend to complete a jigsaw puzzle with you to sharpen your problem-solving skills. If you have access to a game system, you can play games such as Brain Age and Scrabble on the Nintendo DS. It's another way to exercise your brain.

WesleyLife is committed to finding fun activities that stimulate brain function. Edgewater uses the Dakim BrainFitness program, which strengthens memory, focus and concentration. By spending 20 minutes each day, those with mild memory loss can delay other conditions such as Alzheimer's disease and dementia.

3. Keep Your Body Active

A healthy body contributes to a healthy mind. A University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign study, published in the February 2003 Journal of Gerontology and reported on the Harvard Medical School website, scanned the brains of 55 subjects (more than half of them women), ages 55-79, and measured their maximal oxygen uptake (a gauge of aerobic fitness) during walking and treadmill tests. It showed that physically fit subjects had less age-related brain-tissue shrinkage than less active subjects.

So lace up your tennis shoes and get moving! Any kind of activity, from yard work to a walk around the block, may improve your mood, health and even sharpen your mind!

4. Laugh

Have you ever heard that laughing is the best medicine? A good laugh has many short and long term benefits, such as stimulate organs, relieve a stress response, improve your immune system, soothe tension and relieve pain. It also has other benefits, such as helping establish friendships and brightening up a bad day.

5. Learn Something New

Learning something new is a great way to challenge yourself, introduce new thinking and maybe meet new friends. From sewing to woodworking to singing to playing an instrument, learning something new can help keep your mind stay active. While learning a new activity or skill, you will be absorbing new concepts while also enhancing your retention skills through memorization. For an even bigger challenge, take on learning a new language. You can take a course, listen to CDs and even watch your favorite movies in a foreign language with subtitles!

  1. alzheimer's disease
  2. brain fitness
  3. memory care
  4. memory support
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