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Activities that Stimulate the Brain and Strengthen Memory

Mild cognitive impairment, or MCI, is the medical term for minor, early stage memory loss. The condition falls somewhere between typical age-related memory decline and Alzheimer’s disease. Memory problems, difficulty finding words, organizing or planning as well as a lack of initiative or motivation are all symptoms associated with cognitive decline. While age-related MCI is natural to some degree, over time it can lead to Alzheimer’s. Fortunately, there are countless activities that stimulate learning and strengthen cognitive ability. Various leisurely pursuits are believed to reduce the risk of MCI, exercise the brain and help with memory and cognitive functioning. Here are some fun brain stimulating activities to give a try… Puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords challenge both logic and memory. Reading books, magazines and newspapers use both language and cognition to strengthen memory. Playing board games like Monopoly, Scrabble, chess and checkers stimulate brain activity and may reduce rates of memory loss. Dancing is a cardiovascular workout that increases blood flow to the brain; it’s actually the only physical activity associated with a lower risk of dementia. Playing instruments involves the area of the brain that uses memory and language skills. Cooking exercises all five senses and involves multiple sections of the brain. Crafts like knitting, quilting and painting are intellectually stimulating. It’s possible you or a loved one have tried some of these activities but still experience gradual memory loss and cognitive decline. It’s important to talk with a doctor about other ways to cope with symptoms. Here are a few tips for day-to-day management of memory decline…
  • Make lists of things you have to do keep them in the same place every day.
  • Jot down notes and reminders, and put them where they won’t be overlooked.
  • Anytime you learn a new skill, write down instructions on how to do it—no matter how simple, this could be a very valuable resource in the future.
  • When learning something new, ask for help when necessary, and don’t hesitate to hire someone to do it for you.
  • Find a routine that works for you and stick to it on a daily basis—this goes for daily activities, mealtimes, sleep/wake cycles, etc.
For more unique tips and interesting ways to help a family member cope with memory loss, contact AT Home Care today.

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