By : Brooke Chaplan
Many of the recommendations for boosting memory and preventing diseases like dementia involve lifestyle changes that may be challenging for older adults to manage. For example, regular exercise and quality sleep are thought to help the brain function at its best, but older adults may have trouble controlling those factors. Fortunately, there are a number of small, easy activities that can help the brain work at its best and can be done in just a few minutes.
Work Crossword Puzzles
Probably one of the simplest activities to add to your schedule, crossword puzzles are widely available and can be worked in short bursts of time. Do it at the breakfast table or the commute into town. Taking just five minutes a day to work through a puzzle can enhance cognitive functions. The trick is to keep working on the same puzzle until you are finished, or at least hopelessly stumped.
Play Board Games
Board games are a great way to boost brain functions and are particularly nice for residents of retirement living homes, as it provides a social outlet as well. According to Sunshine Retirement Living, there should be a conscious effort to work social interactions into daily life. Increasing your interaction with others can also improve brain function so it’s like you get double the benefits.
Memorize a List
Headed to the grocery store? Take a few minutes before you go to memorize your list. Sit quietly for a few minutes, reading over what you plan to buy until you feel like you know everything on it. Flip the paper over, and rewrite the list. Go back and check how you’ve done, did you remember everything?
Study a Different Language
It’s unlikely you will become proficient in learning another language in only five minutes a day, but that is plenty of time to learn to count to ten, name colors, or learn other basics. While you may never speak fluently in the language, you will certainly strengthen your brain and you can develop a new skill in the process!
Do Mental Math
Balance your checkbook, estimate how many miles per gallon your car gets, or simply run through basic multiplication tables. Try doing any activity that would normally have you reaching for pencil and paper, or a calculator in your head. You can always go back and double check your work, but you may be surprised at how much math you can do in your head.
Knowing you can solve an entire crossword puzzle, memorize a list, or do quick mental math can boost your confidence and help you feel more independent, in addition to stimulating your mind. While none of these activities may have the power to stave off dementia forever, they can help boost brain function and slow its decline.