Has the senior in your life slowly slipped into a routine that isn’t stimulating them mentally or physically? Don’t feel alone – we’re all creatures of habit to some extent, including aging seniors. Routines can keep a senior organized and secure, but they can also dull their spirit and adversely affect their mental health.
You may not be able to help them establish a new routine quickly, but you can help your loved one stay mentally sharp with some easy and fun activities that they can engage in alone or with others.
Here are five ways you can keep seniors mentally stimulated and maybe even help them stay fit physically at the same time.
1. Social Butterfly
Spending too much time alone can be harmful to seniors. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, engaging socially may support brain health and even delay the onset of dementia.
If your loved one is physically able, help them stay active mentally by being involved with others through community/senior centers, book clubs, walking groups, or volunteering.
2. Furry Companionship
Most seniors love pets, and pets love them. Spending time with pets is a highly engaging activity for them. It can be a dog, cat, fish, bird, or something else. There is a wide variety of animals to choose from.
Seniors smile and feel good when they interact with pets that show them some affection. Research has shown that seniors that connect with animals have increased overall physical and mental well-being.
3. Walking and Exercise
With just a pair of comfortable walking shoes, you and your loved one can enjoy the outdoors and get some exercise as you stroll through the neighborhood. It will give you a chance to visit with them, which is stimulating for them mentally.
If they’re physically able, swimming or dancing also keeps them active physically and stimulates them mentally through their interaction with other participants. And don’t underestimate the value of just listening to music together; familiar melodies can help trigger happy memories for them.
4. Volunteering Helps Them and Others
Is your loved one a helper? Do they like to contribute to a cause? There are plenty of opportunities for them: food drives, toy drives, fundraising activities, visiting the sick, or something simple like wrapping a gift. Volunteering is a great way to overcome or prevent feelings of uselessness as they age.
5. Reading and Writing
A good book engages the mind, whether it be fiction or non-fiction. Reading helps them learn something new, use their imagination, and put their brain cells to good use.
Writing also stimulated seniors mentally. And, all writing is beneficial for them: letters to family, autobiography, poetry – anything that puts pen to paper. They’ll enjoy sharing what they’ve read and written.
A mentally and physically active senior is generally a happier senior. And, a senior that is leading a fulfilling life can expect to live better and longer. Keep your aging senior mentally stimulated – you’ll both enjoy life together more than ever.