Has your brain settled in for a long winter’s nap? If the cold days and long nights leave you curled up in front of the television — your brain may be idling in neutral! It’s time for family caregivers and their aging parents to exercise their noodle with some brain exercises!
The winter months can sometimes become boring for aging parents and other seniors. With the cold weather, especially when snow and ice are involved, come fewer opportunities to enjoy being outdoors. So if you’re stuck inside, find some ways to keep your own and your loved one’s brains active and engaged.
Turn the TV off
It’s easy to fall into a rut and spend hours in front of the television set, watching even when you don’t particularly enjoy the program that’s on. Too much TV is ultimately bad for anyone, so make sure that there are alternatives that challenge the mind and exercise the brain muscles. That way you not only keep things interesting, but you also help keep the brain younger and less likely to deteriorate.
Pick up the pieces for more brain exercises
Puzzles are a great way to engage your brain and have fun at the same time. Jigsaw puzzles are a lot of fun, especially because they can be a social activity as well; several people can work on a puzzle at one time and hold conversations while doing so.
Crossword puzzles are also enjoyable, and these too can be done by more than one person. They require you to use word recognition and thought processing, all of which are very beneficial. Number puzzles, such as Sudoku, exercise a different part of your brain. You might also try brain teasers, word jumbles, and cryptoquotes (phrases or sentences written in a code that you must break.)
Get artsy, stay crafty
Arts and crafts call upon the parts of the brain that are used in creative endeavors. You don’t have to be a da Vinci to do some watercolors or a Rodin to make a clay sculpture; the joy is in the creation and the activity, not in the aesthetic beauty of the result. Crafts can be simple activities such as making an igloo out of ice cubes, or more complex ones such as using cardboard to make a model of the neighborhood. The point is to have fun in whatever you decide to do.
There really is nothing like a good book, and reading can take you into worlds that are new and exciting. If eyesight is an issue, there are many wonderful audiobooks that can be borrowed from your local library.
You got game
There are an incredible number of board games out there today. You can pick one that really causes you to think, such as chess or Scrabble, or one that just requires a bit of concentration, such as Parcheesi or Life. Board games are often a big hit when you want something to do that includes children.
It’s in the cards
A little deck of 52 playing cards can provide hours of entertainment. Whether you’re playing Slap Jack, poker, Crazy Eights, or any number of other games, cards can keep your brain on its toes and happy.
Aging parents and other seniors want to be active and engaged. Bears hibernate in the winter, but seniors’ brains shouldn’t. Keeping the brain healthy makes a win-win situation for everyone.