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Keeping Aging Minds Sharp This Holiday Season

Many studies, including a 2013 study by Brigham and Women’s Hospital Department of Neurology, show that mentally stimulating activities such as games are key to keeping aging minds sharp.

To help reduce the stress and make the holidays a little more enjoyable for families caring for older loved ones, companion-care company Home Instead Senior Care of Levittown is sharing their top ten tips for stimulating senior minds (see below) and suggests considering games as presents when shopping for seniors this holiday season.

  
1. Video action. Interactive video games have become popular for family members of all ages. Some games, such as Nintendo’s Brain Age, and the Wii home video game system, are particularly good for stimulating seniors’ minds.
 
2. Computer savvy not needed. Even seniors who are intimidated by the computer still can play online and other computer games. Why not try to help them get started playing Solitaire or joining an online bridge game?
 
3. Organize game night. Board or card games offer a great avenue for mind stimulation.  Why not encourage a senior loved one to get a few friends together to join in the fun?
 
4. The magic of music. Many seniors were avid musicians in earlier years and some may still have pianos or instruments in their homes. Ask them to play you a tune or challenge them to learn an instrument.
 
5. Tournament fun. Bridge and Scrabble tournaments for seniors are springing up around the country. Check with your local senior center or Home Instead Senior Care office to learn of any activities in your area. Or encourage your older adult to join a local bridge group.
 
6. Think big. Crossword, large-piece jigsaw and Sudoku puzzles are great pastimes for seniors who need a mind-stimulating activity when they are alone.
 
7. Out and about. Most communities have concerts, lectures and other pursuits that can interest seniors and their families. If your loved one is able to get out, consider those.
 
8. In the news. Many seniors maintain their interest in politics and current events. For their next birthday, why not renew a subscription to a newspaper or popular news magazine. Or organize a news discussion group.
 
9. Just the two of you. When it’s just you and your senior loved one, remember there are more things you can do than watch television. Games like Monopoly Express, Scrabble Express and Sorry Express don’t take long to play.
 
10. Companionship Counts. Companionship is an important part of stimulating seniors’ minds. If your senior has no one to spend time with, consider hiring a companion, such as a Home Instead CAREGiver.

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