Memory and Aging: Senior Centers

What a great place to engage seniors in activities of interest. It is also a place where older adults can exchange ideas of what they do to keep their minds active. One of my clients recently complained that her memory was not as good as it used to be. What was encouraging is that she was looking for ideas so she might better challenge her brain. We came up with ways to take some of the things she was already doing on a regular basis and change them up a bit.

Reading: Vary the reading material. Read aloud and share what you read. Learn to read some basic words in a new language.

Puzzles: Use your other hand to circle or fill in the letters. Teach someone how to do a puzzle then do it with them until they are more comfortable. Try a new word game and if you need to, look at the answers and then come back and try it a few days later.

Cooking: Try a new recipe. Take a cooking class. Watch a cooking show on TV. Teach a child how to cook some basic recipes.

Watching television:  Watch a program or movie you would not ordinarily watch. Find an educational program of interest and tell someone else the highlights of the program. Watch a program without the sound. Watch television and do nothing else.

Socializing: Find a new organization where you can volunteer some hours. Bring a friend along to help with an activity. Create a gathering of your friends from your life that may not have met each other.

Daily routine: Go to a different store for some grocery items. Drive to a familiar place exploring a new route.  Pick up a newspaper you do not normally read or a magazine you have not read recently.  Try a new restaurant or order something different at your favorite eating place.

The important thing is to not complain about your memory but get the facts and learn what you can do. The key to change is awareness so discuss your interest in programs that meet your needs and those of the senior center. Create a new group and have fun while supporting each other in the learning process.

Share this information with others interested in brain health at your senior center. Discuss what your current memory fitness plan is and talk about how to upgrade one of your activities or add something new.

Consider getting a group together and use Walking the Path to Memory Fitness One Week at a Time to create an ongoing program. In a few weeks look for the blogs introducing the 7 Day Memory Fitness Plan where you focus on one of the keys to memory fitness every day for a week.  After a few months of this routine you will find that all of these areas that support remembering will be on your radar screen, giving you an opportunity to perhaps make different choices.

In learning to know other things, and other minds,
we become more intimately acquainted with ourselves,
and are to ourselves better worth knowing.

Philip Gilbert Hamilton

Quick Link to all blogs and Memory Fitness Toolkit

About Kathryn Kilpatrick

Kathryn Kilpatrick received her Master's degree in Speech-Language Pathology in 1968 from the University of Massachusetts. She has worked in a variety of settings, primarily in Ohio, including hospitals, rehabilitation centers, and for decades in the area of home health care. Kathryn is president of Memory Fitness Matters ( and Communication Connection( She offers memory coaching for all ages and has a geriatric consulting practice. She is a national motivational speaker and author of more than 30 products to enhance communication and connection as well as a Memory Fitness Toolkit. Kathryn brings her decades of experience as a speech-language pathologist to all those wanting to enhance their quality of life, particularly when there are communication, memory and cognitive challenges. Her websites offer information on a wide variety of topics related to elder care concerns as well as memory fitness and successful aging.
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