Challenge Your Brain: Keep an Open Mind

Some of the goals of my memory fitness programs for successful aging emphasize the spirit of exploring new options, upgrading your current memory fitness activities and seeking out new perspectives on topics you may feel you are already knowledgeable.

Many years ago there was a gentleman in one of my talks who shared what he does to keep his mind active. He went to the library once a week for several hours and would look up information on a topic he knew absolutely nothing about. I know one of the advantages of having an IPhone when seeing a patient in their home is that it allows me to look up something about a topic the person introduced that I am not familiar with and keep the conversation going.

Several years ago someone told me about the website Freerice, a free online game and learning tool. For every correct answer you choose, 10 grains of rice are raised to help end world hunger through the World Food Programme. I shared this resource with clients for vocabulary building exercises. What I liked about it was that there were multiple choices and this was an excellent way to maintain a person’s interest. Often you may have a sense of what the answer might be and you may have better success if you can pick it out from the choices offered.

During a therapy session years ago, my patient’s 95 year old wife shared with me how she kept her mind active now that she is not able to get out of the house very often. We talked about Freerice but she made me aware of all its categories, including grammar, flags of the world, famous quotes, world landmarks, English grammar, Latin, French, German, Italian, and Spanish vocabulary, human anatomy, literature, famous paintings and much more. Now there are even competitions.

Is there an area where you have an interest? Are you open to trying something new? Use whatever resources you prefer and learn something new this week. Explore and share as a way to keep your mind open to something outside your regular routine.

It’s essential to keep an open mind, and to be willing–better yet, eager–to try new things. Michael Abrash

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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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