Fun Ways Caregivers Can Help Their Loved One Stay Mentally StimulatedJune 28, 2023
As you start to take over care responsibilities for your elderly loved one, you may realize that “care” doesn’t just refer to activities such as personal care or meal preparation. These are naturally important features of supporting your loved one, but eventually, you will realize the importance of keeping them mentally stimulated too. Keeping a senior’s brain engaged doesn’t have to involve the same set of memory games or puzzles. In fact, there are plenty of fun ways caregivers can help their loved one stay mentally stimulated. You may not realize how these activities have such a substantial impact on their cognitive skills.
Practice baking skills
For many individuals, baking is a therapeutic activity that allows seniors to flex both their creative and precision skills. In addition, baking can help inspire memories. The olfactory system (or the sense of smell) is closely linked to the limbic system (which is involved in regulating emotions and memories) due to the brain’s anatomy. Memories associated with scent are more vivid than other memories, so baking is a fantastic way to engage that part of the brain.
Play an instrument
Practicing music does so much for the brain. Those who practice regularly have lower levels of stress, better mental and physical dexterity, and overall better memory. If your loved one can play an instrument, encourage them to practice this engaging activity with some regularity to help them form these bonds.
If your loved one doesn’t play an instrument, it isn’t too late to learn. The saying is that “an old dog can’t learn new tricks,” but that isn’t necessarily true. While it may take them longer to master a skill than it used to, it can be done with enough practice and care. In doing so, your loved one will form new connections in the brain, which is fantastic for fighting cognitive decline.
Make flower arrangements
Arranging flowers into lovely bouquets is a fun, relaxing activity. One of the best parts for older adults? There is no “wrong” way to arrange flowers. Purchase flowers from a florist, at the grocery store, or pick them from your yard, and then get creative! If your loved one started gardening this spring, this is the perfect way to see the fruits of their labor.
Listen to audiobooks
Reading is a fantastic way to keep the mind engaged with minimal effort. However, eye strain from looking at the small print on a page or from staring at a screen for too long can be an issue. If this is something your loved one struggles with, help them start listening to audiobooks. In listening to audiobooks, your loved one will still enjoy the benefits of reading and even have the freedom to multitask if they’d like to.
Many see coloring as a children’s activity, but in recent years adult coloring books have taken the world by storm. For many individuals, coloring is a stress-busting activity that allows them to focus on the present. It is a non-competitive activity that they control all on their own—they can color for as long as they like, as boldly as they’d like, and as perfectly as they’d like.
With stress being such a serious problem for seniors (in regard to both physical and mental health), this benefit cannot be understated. This could be an especially helpful, fun activity for seniors living with dementia.
For support with your senior loved one, consider home care
No matter how much you love your elderly family member, it can be difficult being the sole care provider for them. If at any time you struggle to keep up with the tasks of family caregiving, consider hiring an at-home caregiver. These professionals can assist with any of the non-medical activities of daily living your loved one needs. This can include brain games and mentally stimulating activities.
For more information on how Home Care Powered by AUAF can support you with home care assistance, give us a call at 773-274-9262. We would be happy to discuss our services with you.
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