While considerable attention is given to the inevitable decline of physical ability that accompanies the advancement of age, too little attention is given to the corresponding decline in mental capacity. As friends and relatives of elderly individuals, too often we attribute (incorrectly in most cases) mental fogginess with disorders we are familiar with, such as dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease.
But outside of a real diagnosis of one of those conditions, we should be careful about chalking mental fog up to a disorder. In most cases, the mental decline is directly related to the physical decline, and there are practical ways to slow or even reverse it. Here are five games that keep the right parts of the brain alert.
1. Object Hide-And-Seek
Short-term memory loss is usually the first thing that aging individuals notice as a sign of decreasing mental clarity, and for good reason. The physiological structures responsible for short-term memory degrade as we get older, and we have to fight to keep them built. One way to do this is to play a daily game of hide-and-seek. Take any five objects and hide them in the morning. Periodically remind yourself where they are during the day. In the evening, retrieve them and keep them by your bed to hide again the following morning.
Long-term memory also suffers as we age, and the noticeable loss of a life’s worth of memories can be a tragic experience. Recitation is an excellent way to slow this process, whether it’s memorizing and performing the lines of a play, reciting scripture, or committing philosophical writings or favorite letters to memory. Practicing memory tasks is a great way to keep your memory working.
3. Physical Activity
One reason that elderly individuals tend to stay more mentally alert when they enter a quality extended care facility (for example, http://www.brightstarcare.com/nashvillegreen-hills/) is that these facilities tend to promote healthy physical activity. The brain is a part of the physical body and is profoundly affected by physical fitness, so taking a fitness class or playing a round of golf are among the best games for promoting mental clarity.
4. Playing with Bean Bags
A bean bag is one of the best tools for exercising some of the underlying structures that contribute to mental clarity, and a bean bag can be used even by an individual who is confined to a wheelchair or a bed. Simply passing the bean bag around the body in various ways, throwing it from hand to hand if possible, and especially crossing the body’s midline will promote hemispheric integration and help to keep the mind active.
We who spend a large portion of our lives in front of computers know that Solitaire is a great way to make valuable time disappear. But classic Solitaire, whether played on a computer or with physical cards, is also a memory game, and it’s a quality, easily accessible game that can help to keep the mind active.
I don’t know if you have ever tried to embed flash into your wordpress blog, for the benefit of those who haven’t – It is a royal pain in the backside!
Anyway, it frustrated me that I couldn’t find a definitive way of doing it, wordpress for some reason doesn’t seem to like the object and embed tags that are used to embed flash in html. Even worse the only solutions I could find were aimed at people looking to embed youtube videos on their wordpress blogs. The Flash Video solutions I found all involved downloading 3 separate plugins and that seemed a tad excessive.