How Can In-Home Care Workers Help Seniors with Brain Games & Activities?October 3, 2022
How Can In-Home Care Workers Help Seniors with Brain Games & Activities?
It’s a fact of life that, as we age, our mental capacity may not be what it once was. As new memories populate the surface of our brains, old ones slip—or perhaps vice versa, on occasion. Is there any way to help seniors with brain games and activities?
But just because this is natural, it doesn’t mean that there isn’t anything you can’t do about it. Just like when you go to the gym intent to target your arms or legs, your brain is another muscle that needs to be exercised to stay fit.
Exercising your brain might not be as intuitive to you as exercising your body might be—especially if you live at home alone. Your at-home caregiver, however, can do more than you may think. On top of assisting with personal care or medication reminders, in-home care workers can help seniors with brain games and activities.
Brain activities with in-home caregivers
If you have been looking for fun activities to help stimulate your brain, but aren’t sure where to start, your caregiver can help. As individuals who see you sometimes more often than you see your family, they know what it is you like. They can help you come up with a series of activities that are proven to help boost your memory, cognition, and overall mental health.
Below are a series of brain games and activities that you and your caregiver can do together. These pursuits will not only help maintain and improve your skills but also provide you with valuable socialization time with another person.
Board and card games
Board and card games are fun for individuals of all ages, but they also have major health benefits. The fun and social aspect have been shown to relieve stress and depression, but the strategic aspect has been shown to help with memory loss and cognitive skills. Your caregiver can pick up whichever games you don’t have and play alongside you.
Chess is a classic game for a reason. While the many pieces may seem intimidating, it is quite easy to learn. Once you get the hang of it, you’ll slowly start to see the impacts of increased IQ and levels of focus. It is a great game to practice with your caregiver and introduce to your family. You can even play it online if you don’t have a board.
Qwirkle is a relatively new game that challenges players to match colors and shapes while using math and strategy to achieve higher scores. It even won the Mensa Select Award, which is a distinction given to games that are challenging and thoughtfully designed. This makes it a great option for seniors looking to flex their mental muscles.
If you’re looking for a game you can play on your own time, Solitaire is a great option. It encourages players to flex their thinking skills by having seniors arrange cards in the correct order. As the name implies, it is an entirely solitary game, which is perfect for seniors who want to take a slower pace. Similar to chess, it can be played online with the simplicity of a Google search.
Puzzles push seniors’ problem-solving skills to the limits. They’re far more diverse than one might expect from the name—as they can include jigsaw puzzles, word puzzles, and other logic puzzles. Their diversity allows seniors to work with as many, or as few, others to complete it.
Crossword puzzles can be found anywhere—in a newspaper, a magazine, or online. Players look at a clue and determine whether or not a word will fit in a certain box, which then determines the words surrounding it. They help sharpen reasoning skills and build your vocabulary. If you already get the morning paper, take a few extra minutes to exercise your mind.
Connection games can manifest in several different formats, but a common one is through word connections. Seniors are prompted with two words, such as “ship” and “card.” They then have to determine the word that connects the two—in this case, “deck.” You could have your caregiver come up with a list of words, or look up a connection game online.
For many, jigsaw puzzles allow one to turn off their brain and focus on the calming matching activity. Despite the relaxing nature of jigsaw puzzles, they are extremely effective for stimulating the mind. These puzzles can come in any size and difficulty level one can think, from a few dozen pieces to thousands of pieces. Start small and work your way to more challenging puzzles.
Arts and crafts inspire seniors to tap into their creative minds and exercise a different side of the brain. Depending on your interests, crafts can be as inexpensive as you’d like them to be. This could mean something simple like upcycling a picture frame, or as complex as woodworking. They also encourage seniors to use their hands, which is great for their physical dexterity.
Painting allows for a great deal of creative freedom. You can paint whatever inspires you or join a class to learn more about techniques. You could even go old-school and follow a Bob Ross tutorial online. Ask your caregiver to pick up some paint, brushes, and canvases to get started creating.
The preservation of memories is important to many seniors, so why not make them even more beautiful with some scrapbooking? Create a story with how you arrange your photos and accent the pages with mementos, drawings, or other crafts. This would be a great activity to enjoy with family.
Knitting is a relatively simple hobby to start that gives seniors the satisfaction of creating something for themselves or others. On top of being great for focus, knitting is perfect for maintaining fine motor skills and fighting arthritis. It is a great, cozy activity to start this fall.
Your home caregiver can help make your life easier
As we age, some activities of daily living grow difficult or undesirable. Your caregiver can take these activities off your plate so you can focus on whatever is most important for you. In addition to brain games and activities, your home care worker can help with:
- Personal care
- Medication reminders and management
- Meal preparation
- Light housekeeping
- Companionship and social interaction
Home Care Powered by AUAF has served seniors and their families in the greater Chicago area for nearly 30 years. Our diligent, compassionate staff works with you to create a plan of care built around your needs, so you experience the highest quality of life possible. To learn more about our services and our family caregiver program, call us at 773-274-9262.
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