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Strategies for Boosting Intellectual Wellness in the Senior Years

By Patricia Schumacher, 9:00 am on

Recent research suggests the brain is capable of forming new connections and growing new cells well into the later years of life. There’s also plenty of research suggesting brain-related stimulation can contribute to a longer, healthier, happier, and more productive life. Here are some intellectual wellness tips you can recommend to your senior loved one to help him or her reap some of these rewards.

Have Meaningful Conversations

Whether you’re talking about current topics, mutual interests, the latest happenings with other family members, or fond memories, meaningful conversations keep an aging brain active and engaged. Conversing is also a great way to form a stronger bond with your loved one.

A home caregiver can be a fantastic conversation partner for your loved one. For families living in Rhode Island, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Read Books

From classics to current bestsellers, there are many options available for seniors looking to boost their intellectual wellness with a good read. If your loved one is having difficulty with print books, e-readers have font sizes that can be adjusted, and audiobooks are equally appealing alternatives.

Play Brain Games

Brain games can stimulate the mind by exercising short-term memory as well as pattern recognition and logical thinking skills. For those times when your loved one needs a way to keep his or her mind occupied, such as when waiting around for a doctor’s appointment, going for a long car ride, or sitting at home, options include:

• Crossword puzzles and logic-based word games
• Online trivia quizzes that can be completed on a laptop, phone, or tablet
• Brain training apps such as Lumosity, which includes more than 60 brain games

Explore the Arts

Things like sculpting, painting, playing musical instruments, and participating in dance classes can help older adults intellectually by stimulating multiple parts of the brain, including ones that benefit from exploring creative endeavors. Because intellectual and social wellness are so closely linked, attending cultural events or dabbling in the arts firsthand can have multiple benefits for seniors.

Find Ways to Learn New Things

Some local colleges offer free or discounted classes for seniors. Encourage your loved one to attend a class or two to see if there’s something appealing that could enable your parent to boost his or her intellectual wellness by acquiring new knowledge. Other options for new and ongoing learning include:

• Taking online courses or watching online tutorials
• Joining senior groups devoted to certain crafts or hobbies
• Attending lectures at local colleges, community centers, or libraries

Transportation to classes, group meetings, and social gatherings is just one of the many types of support a home caregiver can provide. Rhode Island elderly home care experts are available to provide high-quality care to seniors on an as-needed basis. From assistance with mobility and exercise to providing transportation to the doctor’s office and social events, there are a variety of ways professional caregivers can help your aging loved one continue to live independently.

Tell Stories

Encourage your loved one to tell stories about important events and milestones in his or her life. This could involve sharing personal stories with grandchildren, using family photos as inspiration, or using specially designed memory books that present various topics or questions that can serve as prompts for stories. Storytelling is intellectually beneficial because it keeps important memories fresh.

Keep a Journal

Writing in a journal is a simple process that allows seniors to express their personal thoughts in a way that eliminates the need to worry about what somebody else might think. It can also help with mental health by providing a way to ease stress and anxiety by expressing feelings and thoughts instead of keeping them inside. 

Professional caregivers can be a terrific resource for aging adults who need cognitive stimulation and social interaction to boost intellectual wellness. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.

Trust Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate, professional care for your loved one. If your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging, call one of our compassionate Care Managers today at (401) 284-0979.