As we age, exercising the mind is just as important as physical fitness. While forgetfulness can be a sign of Alzheimer’s disease, it’s also a common sign of aging. It may not be preventable, though memory aids and memory-boosting activities can help slow the process. Memory games and aids are also a great way to reduce stress and have fun.
Let’s explore fun ways to help older adults retain the best cognitive health and memory possible.
Top 5 Memory Games for Older Adults
Memory training for older adults is critical. Here are a few memory-boosting activities and fun memory games for older adults.
Chess is a game of strategy that can help build logical reasoning and problem-solving skills among older adults. If you have an older adult family member, they may feel that playing chess will be too complicated. However, when they get the hang of it, they’ll see that it’s fairly accessible and can provide benefits like increased IQ and better focus.
A 2019 study found that playing chess can also help protect older people from dementia due to the complex mental flexibility it requires. Chess is an excellent activity to help older adults reduce cognitive decline by challenging memory, calculation, critical thinking and visual-spatial skills.
2. Word Puzzles
Word puzzles are an engaging yet challenging activity to strengthen an older adult’s cognition. Research shows that crossword puzzles in particular can improve older adults’ brain health by strengthening focus, executive function and memory. These skills can help older adults navigate everyday challenges and remain independent longer. Another study reports that people who play word puzzles function 10 years younger than their biological ages.
Get your family member’s brain buzzing with word puzzles. A few examples of these fun memory games include:
- Word search
- Finish the saying
3. Bird Watching
Bird watching is an excellent memory-boosting activity for older adults. While our brains work in a use-it-or-lose-it fashion, bird watching can help keep the brain active and sharp. By watching birds and identifying the types, older adults can activate different brain regions and enhance their memory.
This relaxing hobby can also help older adults feel a sense of calm and have greater peace of mind. While birdwatching, they can immerse themselves in the activity and be more present. There are so many beautiful colors and types of birds to learn about and memorize, making a trip to a nearby park an excellent way for older adults to spend their time.
4. Identify Botanicals
Like bird watching, identifying botanicals is a fantastic way for older adults to immerse themselves in nature and improve memory. Many studies point to the advantages of getting outside, including possibly reducing mortality, contributing to better physical well-being and improving emotional health.
Exposure to natural environments can also improve cognitive flexibility and attentional control. Learning about and identifying plant species makes excellent memory training for older adults. Visiting a park or simply enjoying time in the garden can help stimulate the brain and positively impact mental health.
5. Trivia Games
Trivia is a fun and engaging way to stimulate older adults’ minds. With an infinite number of online trivia topics, all you need to do is decide on a theme and whether the activity will be solitary or for a group. Creating teams adds competition, and you could even reward winners with a small prize. Answers can be called out or written down depending on the older adults’ abilities.
A few trivia topic ideas include:
- Current affairs
- General knowledge
- TV shows from the past
Fun Memory Aids for Older Adults
Memory aids can help older adults function better in their daily lives and promote independence. When searching for aids, look for those that fit the skills they already have. For instance, if they’ve never used a reminder function on their phone, you might consider turning to alternatives for medication reminders, such as companion care services.
Here are a few common memory aids that can facilitate senior brain health.
1. Create a Color-Coded Calendar
A color-coded calendar can help older adults stay organized and remember their daily obligations. With color codes, they don’t have to read the tiny text to figure out what their day will look like. They can easily see blocks for specific tasks, like doctor’s appointments or visits with family members, so they don’t forget.
Color coding is also a great way to label other things, like keys. You can purchase colored rubber key caps or rings to do this. For example, they might code the front door key green and the garage door blue to reduce confusion.
2. Download Reminder Apps
Several reminder apps can help older adults remember essential tasks. For example, a medication reminder app can prompt them to take their pills and which types of medications to take. Other apps can send alerts to family members when prescriptions are getting low or when to get refills. You may need to pay for some of these apps, though many are free.
3. Keep a Journal
Journaling is a great way to reduce stress while tracking feelings and events. Older adults can appreciate having a journal as a reminder of what they did on certain days and how they felt at that time. They might also stick photos in a daily journal or create a scrapbook to document important memories.
Journals can also give them something to show and talk about with others. Collecting mementos to add to the journal as reminders is an excellent way to use them. For instance, they might collect movie tickets, train tickets or a program from an event.
4. Make Lists
Most memory issues stem from trying to remember several things at once or complex instructions. Creating lists and checking tasks off can remove that mental load from the mind. Older adults can also use lists for daily routines. If they forget part of their morning routine, such as taking medication, they can write a list in the order in which they need to take them. Lists are an excellent memory aid for various tasks, from shopping lists to weekly plans.
5. Use Locator Devices
Locator devices make excellent memory aids for older adults. They can use them to find frequently lost items like keys or wallets. All they need to do is attach a small electronic tag to the item. If they lose it, they click a button on the locator device to make the tag beep. By keeping the locator device somewhere obvious, many older adults can find them very helpful.
Get in Touch With Corewood Care for Companion Care Services
Memory aids and memory-boosting activities are simple ways to improve memory and problem-solving skills. If you find that your older family member requires additional care, companion care services can help.
At Corewood Care, our aging life care experts help your family member age in place from the comfort of their home. Companion care services can help keep your aging family member busy and mentally stimulated. From fun memory games like chess to medication reminders, our caregivers can provide what you need.
To schedule a free assessment, contact us today.