Jan 10, 2018 by Stephanie Howe - Owner, Comfort Keepers
5 Fun Ways to Ward Off Dementia by Keeping Your Brain Active After Retirement (Part 1)
After retirement, you're free to kick back and enjoy life. You can do all the things you never had time for during your working life like sleeping as long as you want, reading every book that crosses your path, and even taking that road trip to see distant relatives you had been putting off for years. But as you get older, the outings and more energetic activities tend to fade into the background, and it's all too common for elderly people living alone to fall into a mental rut.
Staying Mentally Active can Keep Dementia At Bay
Even if you don't have a family history of dementia, it's important to keep your brain active, accessing both long-term and short-term memory on a regular basis to avoid becoming that 'forgetful grandma' stereotype or becoming a burden on your family. If you're worried that your memory is already starting to go, one of the best ways to keep your brain active is with an in-home caregiver trained in dementia care. They can not only help you remember the little things like where you left your wallet, but also assist in arranging brain-stimulating activities to keep your mind as sharp as possible.
After all, retirement is supposed to be fun. During this time in your life, active mental activity is at its most important both to keep you healthy and to hold off any lurking possibilities of dementia. Even if you enjoy the quiet life, there is such a thing as 'too quiet.’ Conversations, gatherings, and games are all great ways to both live up your retirement and keep your mind enjoyably active.
1) Board Game Night
The world may have turned to video games, but most people over the age of 50 still have a cupboard full of board games. Even if you don't personally own a stack of entertaining board games, there's a good chance someone you know does. Most board games were designed to be brain teasers, to keep people occupied and entertained for hours without access to push media like radio or televisions. They include complex rules, turn taking structures, and an interesting combination of strategy and teamwork. Board games are also an excellent excuse to get a group of friends together around a table sipping drinks, snacking on finger foods, and debating what moves should be taken by the other players.
When played in groups, a good board game night is incredibly mentally stimulating as you balance the mental math and rules calculations with the constant social activity involved in hosting a party with a decided activity. Scrabble is one of the most popular games for wordy adults, but there are hundreds of options available to you from classics like Risk and Monopoly to obscure old gems like Bonkers, a game where you make the rules for each tile by laying cards.
2) Book Clubs
Many people who have retired enjoy spending a good portion of their time reading, but reading just for your own entertainment can eventually lead to listlessness. It's quite common to find yourself reading the same kind of book over and over again and somehow miss out on the mental stimulation that could be available. A book club will help you continue to enjoy reading on a number of levels. First, it shakes up your book selection by giving the power of book choice to someone else in the group. Book clubs also give you a great reason to remember what you read and take notes on your thoughts.
Finally, during the course of a regular book club meeting, the activity is usually to discuss what the group had read over the intervening time. A good book club leader will have a number of thought and discussion provoking questions that will help the entire club clarify their experiences of each book. This encourages everyone not only to debate in the moment but also to read more actively and remember what they read.
Whether you prefer to go to a community center, visit a friend's home, or host a few board game parties or book club meetings of your own, these are fantastic ways to keep your mind and ward off any early signs of dementia that may have begun to creep in, but they're not the only ways.
Please join us again for the second half of this two-part series where we'll cover things like pet ownership and spending time with the grandkids as ways to keep your brain active as well.
If you need help getting to or from your club meetings, preparing your home to host, or dealing with dementia between scheduled activities, Comfort Keepers’ trained dementia-care caregivers are ready to help. For more information on finding dementia ready caregivers in the Monroe Township, New Jersey area, please contact us online or call (732) 521-1777 today!