Using your brain is one of the best ways to sustain cognitive functions and improve memory as you age. Some of the best ways to keep your brain healthy and active are by engaging in ongoing education, puzzles, and games. Any activity that challenges your brain by requiring that you learn new skills or retain new information will help to support an aging brain. Researchers have found that the more an area of the brain is used the better the body maintains the neurons in that region to keep the brain healthy. So to keep your brain healthy and active you should consider some of these fun and interesting activities. Ongoing Education There has been research done that suggested that education helps the brain to develop more synapses which are the junctions between brain cells. It is across these synapses that information is relayed. By stimulating the formation of synapsis, ongoing education could help prevent dementia. Attending lectures or taking classes to learn new skills is a great way to maintain mental alertness. Some things you might consider are writing courses, music lessons, art programs, poetry classes, computer courses, cooking classes and more. If you’re the academic type you might even consider pursuing a degree you’ve always wanted. You’re never too old to learn something new! Get Into Gaming Being exposed to new environments and new situations can greatly benefit cognition and memory. Exposure to these new things can happen anywhere. They can even be delivered virtually to those with limited mobility. Researchers recently discovered that cognitive health in older adults can be enhanced by playing video games. If video games simply aren’t for you there are plenty of other beneficial games you can enjoy. Trivia, board games, and cards are great ways to socialize with friends and family while you’re giving your brain a boost. Strategic games like checkers and chess are especially beneficial. Putting the Pieces Together One brain-boosting activity that gives both sides of your brain some exercise, and requires the use of logic, intuition, and creativity, is jigsaw puzzles. Working jigsaw puzzles promotes manual dexterity while also helping to flex your mental muscles and stimulate brain function. Puzzles are something that can be completed alone or with friends. Other types of brain-exercising puzzles are word searches, crosswords, sudoku, and brain teasers. All of these activities have been proven to help delay the acceleration of memory problems in people with dementia. Digital Challenges Even if video games do not appeal to you there are other digital games that may be of interest. Today there is a seemingly endless supply of downloadable or online digital activities right at your fingertips that can help light up neural pathways in the brain and give your brain cells a bit of a workout. Word scramble and crosswords, solitaire and mahjong, there are so many downloadable cognitive apps that you can download right to your mobile phone or tablet, many of which are free. There are even free apps to help you learn a new language. If you’re interested in getting involved in some brain-boosting puzzles, games, or education take a look at the Event Calendar here at Ashbridge Manor Senior Living to see if there are any classes or lectures that interest you. We pride ourselves on creating an environment that enables seniors to lead a socially active lifestyle to improve their health. When it’s time to transition to a senior living facility, contact our professional staff members and we can help make it easy. You can find us at 971 E. Lancaster Avenue in Downingtown, PA, call 610.269.8800, or contact us online for more information. Ask us about our move-in special!