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5 Hobbies That Benefit Elderly Brain Health

Ensuring the brain remains active throughout life not only helps keep mental deterioration at bay, but it can also enhance overall quality of life because the brain controls the rest of the body. Bridgewater elder care experts believe participating in hobbies is one of the best ways for the elderly to stay mentally engaged, and this article focuses on 5 hobbies that can serve this purpose.

1. Dancing

A 2003 study published in the New England Journal of Medicine discovered dance could help lower a senior’s risk of dementia because of the mental effort and social stimulation involved. While learning how to dance, your loved one will have to memorize the various steps, which enhances his or her cognitive skills and keeps the brain active. One way your loved one can learn dancing is to join classes specifically designed for seniors. However, if your loved one has limited mobility, make sure he or she sticks to dances with slower movement to prevent falling.

2. Creative Writing

Writing creative content like poems, songs, and novels can provide your loved one with an opportunity to express his or her mind on paper. This activity stimulates thinking because your loved one has to engage the brain when coming up with an idea. Research has suggested the physical act of writing, rather than using a computer, is even more beneficial because the hands send signals to the brain to build motor memory.

3. Gardening

This hobby involves a great deal of learning, which enhances cognitive skills. Your loved one has to learn and retain the skills to prepare the soil, plant crops with correct spacing, and apply appropriate pesticides. Gardening also offers your loved one more time in the sun. This provides vitamin D, which can help prevent cognitive impairment.

4. Playing Sports

Researchers at the University of British Columbia discovered that aerobic exercise boosts the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Sporting activities like running and swimming are a great way for your loved one to get this type of exercise and enhance blood circulation in the brain. However, your loved one should take his or her abilities into account before attempting any physical activity.

5. Reading

Just like these other hobbies, reading engages the mind. A study from Rush University Medical Center found that adults who spent their downtime doing intellectual activities like reading had a 32 percent lower rate of cognitive decline. Your loved one will have to concentrate to understand the content and store what he or she reads in the memory. All these tasks keep the brain active, enhancing brain health.

For additional strategies to boost your loved one’s brain health, reach out to Home Care Assistance. We offer specialized dementia and Alzheimer’s home care Bridgewater seniors can rely on, and all of our caregivers are trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program designed to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at 908.450.9400 to schedule a complimentary consultation.