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How Brain-Boosting Games Can Promote Mental Wellness

Many programs are now being implemented for use in home care Lancaster seniors can benefit from. These programs involve games and activities designed for seniors who have developed a memory related condition or those who are concerned about the possibility of cognitive decline. Below are some of the advantages your elderly loved one may discover from participating in brain-boosting games.

Reduced Dementia Risk

A 2012 study found doing crossword puzzles can decrease the risk of dementia. Seniors are less likely to develop brain plaques, which are abnormal clusters of sticky proteins that accumulate between nerve cells and hinder cellular communication. The study, published in Archives of Neurology, compared brain PET scans of 65 seniors against scans of people with Alzheimer’s and 25-year-olds. Seniors were also queried about their lifestyles and how often they engaged in challenging cognitive tasks. Those who participated in mind-building activities had the least protein uptake on the scans, and adults who worked puzzles had brain structures similar to those of younger people. The 10-year Bronx Aging Study involving 488 seniors found memory decline can be slowed by regularly playing cards and doing crosswords.

Increased Capacity for Reasoning

Brain exercises may increase reasoning skills and processing speed. A 2014 study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society assessed the results of three brain-training programs. The trial involved 3,000 older adults, comprising the largest study on cognitive training to date. Subjects were divided into two groups. One group received 10 one-hour sessions of training, while the other had none. Researchers tracked the subjects’ processing speed, reasoning ability, and memory over a 10-year period. After 5 years, subjects who had received the training performed better in all 3 measures than their non-trained counterparts. In the 10 years after the training, gains in processing speed and reasoning persisted.

Greater Independence

The same 2014 study revealed participants in the training group had greater ease in performing daily activities. They reported less difficulty with cooking meals, handling finances, and managing medication, which reduced the responsibility borne by dementia caregivers in Lancaster. The aim of the training programs was to teach strategies to improve cognitive function. Memory exercises taught how to recall word lists, ideas, and sequences. Reasoning training emphasized recognizing number patterns. Processing drills involved focusing on an object on a computer screen while identifying objects at the screen’s periphery. A version of the brain training used for the trial is now available to the public through Posit Science. Both free and subscription programs are available. The training is divided into 6 categories:

  • Attention
  • Brain Speed
  • Memory
  • People Skills
  • Intelligence
  • Navigation

The right game or activity can help boost your loved one’s cognitive health, but having a caregiver in the home who can respond directly to his or her individual needs may be even better. For dementia and Alzheimer’s home care Lancaster families trust, turn to Home Care Assistance. All of our caregivers are expertly trained in the Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program designed to help seniors with memory related conditions lead happier and healthier lives. For more information on CTM and our other senior care services, call one of our qualified Care Managers at (717) 540-4663 today.