Research shows that social interaction and mental activity is important for quality of life for all ages. The Coover Senior Center in Kalamazoo, Michigan and the Comstock Community Center in Comstock, Michigan work tirelessly to offer both physical and mental activities to the area seniors.
Mental exercises are essential to keeping the brain healthy and to ward off dementia. Repetitive information helps with retention of already learned information. Brain exercises should be designed to learn new information.
Forgetfulness comes with age and is not always related to dementia. In normal aging, new brain cells continue to develop and it is up to the senior to use those neurons to learn. Learning new information can prevent, slow down or stabilize dementia development.
The entire learning process consists of focusing on new information, seeking understanding, and depending on how it is compiled, the entire package will be stored for later retention. For the older person, this can be a slower process, but it is not impossible.
Active brain training should be a daily activity.
Learning new information depends on health and interest in the activity at any age and should be practiced on a continual basis. Protecting the brain starts early on in life. Older people have to be more vigilant about sleep, nutrition, exercise and other health care habits in order to have good brain health.
Visual exercising calls for logical brain cell connection.
An attempt should be made to retrieve any new information at a later time. An example would be in reading an article of particular interest and focusing on a passage, a new discovery or new place to travel. In order to create recall, the brain must understand and analyze what is read, assimilate and then store it. Later in the next day or so, try to recall the information and confirm it by returning to the article and reading it again.
According to Dr. William Rodman Shankle in Preventing Alzheimer's, other exercises that require perception, understanding, analyzing, retrieval and execution of information might be puzzles, word and number challenges,and brain games.
Writing is beneficial if it includes outside-in learning and processing new information. As a creative writer, writing fiction can include research of areas, places and time and perception to make the story real. Articles require research to validate information.
People who watch T.V. to relax are not exercising the brain for new information. Examples of actively watching content for learning would be documentary, travel or other educational channel such as cooking or home and garden network. News, political and financial reporting encourages discussion, analytic and further recall exercise.
Physical interactive games can be played in many ways.
Older persons who are able to be physically active, outdoor games such as golfing, baseball, basketball, and tennis are healthier overall exercises for brain training. In cases of persons with limited mobility, the new interactive sport video games offer participation from wheelchairs or standing and using the brain, arms and hands.
Table card games and dominoes with friends and family enhances social interaction while training the brain. A variety of games are installed on computers or can be played with hand held devices. Internet brain games are available at web sites such as Alzheimer's Association Maintain your Brain Game.
Preventing Alzheimer's by William Rodman Shankle, M.S., M.D. And Daniel G. Amen, M.D. ISBN 0-399-15155-9