Seniors working on brain exercises to improve memory and cognition

How to Boost Memory with Brain Exercises

Your brain is constantly working to process information, help you form new ideas and learn different skills with each passing day. However, just like your body starts to go through changes as you age, your brain experiences changes, too.

Your body begins to lose muscle in your later years, making it that much more important to add physical activity into your daily routine to stay strong and limber. Likewise, the aging process causes your brain to start to slow down and lose some of its own “muscle,” or cognitive function. Neuroplasticity, the brain’s ability to reorganize itself by forming new neural connections through your lifetime, is the term used to describe the changes your brain goes undergoes as you get older. Just like you exercise your muscles, maintaining an active, healthy brain by playing games or performing memory exercises can be key to how well the neurons in your brain can compensate for injury, disease or changes in their environment.

Brain Games and Memory Exercises for Better Brain Health

According to NewScientist.com, the results of a decade-long study revealed that certain types of brain games or training were successful at decreasing the participants’ chances of developing dementia. This study included 2,800 people over the age of 65 who participated in brain exercises that involved the skill of memory, reasoning and processing information.

The training focused on boosting an individual’s brain processing speed, and the participants in the study were 29 percent less likely to develop dementia over the 10-year period. Not only did they decrease their risk for dementia, but their ability to perform everyday tasks like balancing the checkbook also improved.

Brain Games and Memory Exercises for Better Brain Health

There are approximately 47 million individuals living with dementia throughout the world today, with that number set to rise the older the baby boomer generation becomes. It’s important to note that brain games and memory exercises are not the only way to improve your cognitive function. Leading a healthy lifestyle overall by eating a well-balanced diet, getting 30 minutes of physical activity daily, and avoiding passive activities like zoning out in front of the television for hours can improve your brain health.

However, here are just a few ways you can “train your brain,” keeping it active, healthy and potentially decreasing your risk for dementia:

  • Challenge yourself to learn something new. Picking up a new hobby like knitting or painting, learning a new instrument or teaching yourself a foreign language are all great ways to stimulate your brain.
  • Create and memorize lists. Write down the groceries needed for the week or the chores that need to be accomplished and then test your memory recall by working to memorize them. After writing the list, give yourself an hour and then try to name off each item.
  • Play games with others. Get a group of friends together weekly for a few rounds of your favorite card games. Or, play some fun, simple board games with your grandchildren. If you’re already experiencing issues with memory, keep it simple and play games like War that don’t have many steps to them.
  • Give your taste buds a quiz. A subtle brain exercise is to try to identify the subtle flavors from herbs, spices and other ingredients when you test out a new dish.
  • Put together puzzles in your downtime. Keep your concentration levels high by putting together puzzles during quiet times of the day. Puzzles also help test your hand-eye coordination.

Individualized Memory Care and Support at Saint Simeon’s

The Memory Center at Saint Simeon’s provides nationally-recognized Alzheimer’s and dementia care in a comfortable, home-like environment. Our staff is specifically trained in memory care and support, offering innovative services and amenities to ensure residents enjoy the highest quality of life possible. For more information about applying for admission to our memory center, please contact us today.

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