What is the biggest fear of seniors? Developing Alzheimer's, dementia or a general loss of cognitive function ranks very high on the list. Is there anything you can do to decrease your odds of this from happening? More and more scientific evidence shows that we can dramatically increase the likelihood of staying mentally fit throughout our lives. Physical exercise, good nutrition, social connections, and mental stimulation are all important in keeping our brains sharp. It appears that building brain reserves, our brain's ability to generate new pathways and connections, for extra reserve capacity will help our minds function as we age.
The phrase "use it or lose it" applies to our neural pathways as well as our bodies. Learning new things and leading mentally stimulating lives will 'boot brain power.' Many studies have found that engaging in mentally stimulating activities can help keep our minds sharp. Computer games have been scientifically developed to be fun and possibly more effective than puzzles and traditional games at keeping the brain challenged and agile throughout life. 'Mind games' will:
- Directly change how the brain works by increasing activity in the targeted parts of the brain
- Speed up visual processing in about 87% of people who train
- Increase auditory processing speed by 131%
- Improve memory by about 10 years
- Help people keep up with the demands of daily living (such as counting change and finding a phone number) and improve their ability to maintain independence
- Reduce the risk of tripping and falling
- Help people maintain their zeal for life by reducing the risk of depressive symptoms
Of the people who have used these types of games, 3 of 4 people report positive changes in their daily lives.
Recent discoveries in neuroscience show that regular brain fitness through 'mind games' can provide considerable benefits to all ages suffering from disease, trauma or chemotherapy. People with Alzheimer's ADHD, MS, Parkinson's and chemo fog can use 'brain teasers' to recover, improve or maintain their cognitive health. While it is no way a cure for Alzheimer's or dementia, it may be able to slow the progress of the disease or even help a little bit.
If you really want to improve your brain function, look for games that have a solid scientific background and have been validated by independent sources. Make sure the product you are using was tested and showed positive results. Also, most 'brain teasers' only train a single skill, such as dividing attention or working memory. Shoot for games
Ryan Brancato works with Assisted Living at Home to provide information that facilitates and promotes the enrichment of the lives of seniors and their families throughout New Jersey. For more information, go to http://www.assistedlivinginhomecare.com