Becoming more forgetful as you get older is pretty common due to the way the aging process affects your brain. A little bit of forgetfulness isn’t something to worry about, but forgetting major things, forgetting things often or having trouble recognizing people you should know can be early warning signs of serious cognitive decline known as dementia.
If you’re worried about the risk of dementia in elderly family members, you’ll be happy to know that there are things you can do to help lower this risk. Making sure that seniors get regular stimulation by staying cognitively active is one of the best ways to ward off dementia and slow the effects of cognitive decline.
Cognitive activities that benefit seniors range from visiting with others regularly to taking on a new hobby. Staying socially active gives seniors the chance to reminisce about the past and boosts their emotional well-being, which are important factors in keeping the brain in good shape during the aging process and reducing the risk of dementia. If you’re unable to visit elderly loved ones as often as you’d like, keep in mind that home health aides can visit them on a regular basis and provide the social interaction they need.
Some other ideas for making sure that seniors stay cognitively active include:
- Playing challenging games with them, like backgammon or chess
- Giving them books with puzzles to solve, such as crossword puzzles or Sudoku
- Making a scrapbook for them to help them vividly remember the past
- Encouraging them to learn a new skill or pursue a hobby, such as arts and crafts or creative writing