It’s still wintertime here in Arvada. And it may still be cold outside but that doesn’t have to keep your senior from living a fulfilled life and keeping a sharp mind! When the frosty air keeps us inside and it’s time to do some indoor activities, encourage your senior to stay engaged in brain stimulating activities. Keeping an active mind can be rewarding for them and can give seniors a sense of growth and achievement. Here are some ways you can help your loved one stay challenged in the coming weeks.
Before you get started, it’s important to get a feel for what motivates your senior. Their interests, level of challenge needed and specific needs can vary greatly. Your loved one may be lucky enough to be part of an assisted living or nursing home community such as Ralston Creek Neighborhood with lots of activities, social opportunities and programs like Memory Care for those with Alzheimer’s or dementia where mind stimulating activities are offered on a daily basis. Encourage your senior to participate in these exercises and social opportunities. Your senior’s caregivers will be able to help you get a feel for how to best help engage your senior in mind stimulating activities or brain games. In fact, you may even be able to participate in their current goals to help your senior. And it’s always to a good idea to spend some extra time with your loved one to establish a steady relationship, gain their trust and find out what sparks their interest the most.
Adult Coloring Books
Want to find a way to help your senior relax and find their creative side? Believe it or not, something as simple as a coloring book designed for adults and a fresh box of coloring pencils or even crayons may bring back memories and provide a calming effect while spending the dreariest of months indoors. Coloring books can come in a variety of interests, topics or just made to help adults relax. Consider your loved one’s interests when deciding on which style to get them. For example, if your senior used to enjoy birding, search for a coloring book featuring various types of birds. You can help them set up a little art area, sharpen colored pencils for them and make sure they have good lighting for their coloring project. A simple way to keep bring out Grandma or Grandpa’s creative brain!
Word or number puzzles. You can find activities based on words or numbers for various levels of cognitive ability and just about any age. Just because your senior may be receiving supportive care services in their retirement years doesn’t mean they don’t still have a sharp mind and enjoy engaging in some mental challenges. Of course, it’s important to make sure you don’t choose something that will be too challenging or discouraging for them. After all, everyone loves success. Some seniors really enjoy crossword puzzles and others are more motivated by number puzzles so it may take a little while to figure out what keeps your senior interested most. There are also apps you can help your senior download onto their iPad with many different options for crossword puzzles and other brain stimulating activities. Some apps are interactive so you can even find activities where you can connect and challenge them from a distance. Get the whole families get involved!
Something educational. Many seniors no longer are able to do the things they used to enjoy such as travel, birdwatching or hiking. You can help bring their interests to life right in their living room, engaging their mind and keeping their interests alive. Instead of watching movies or the news on TV, introduce them to nature documentaries, travel shows or a scientific series for them to watch. Depending on their level of interest and ability, you may even suggest an interactive app to help them keep up a foreign language skill or learn a new one. There are many educational apps and programs to choose from. Finding out past hobbies and activities can help you determine the type of educational activity to help them keep learning!
Games. If you are looking for a way to connect with your senior in person, bringing along a game might be a good way to spend an hour while the snow swirls outside their cozy assisted living home. You could bring a game they already enjoy playing or introduce a new one. Learning a simple new game with a set of new rules and goals can be interesting and challenging for them especially at first. Make sure to keep card or board games simple enough that they don’t lose interest. You can also find out what games are offered by your senior’s adult community and help them learn the rules and goals so they can participate with their neighbors and friends better. Encourage them to attend the next game night with their friends!
Finding appropriate activities to help engage your loved one’s mind is the goal. Some seniors may have hearing or vision deficits, so be sure to keep this as a consideration if this applies to your senior. And as always, remember to keep things fun and bring something tasty along you can both enjoy as you play games or watch a documentary. It’s fun to munch on popcorn or sip on hot cocoa as you contemplate your next Rummikub move!