Upgrade Your Memory Fitness Routine

“Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  LINK TO PROGRAM

Brain fitness is a key concern of all ages. Research supports the fact that challenging your brain is an important component of successful aging.  A frequent question is what activities matter when it comes to brain games. While many people read, play games, learn how to play a musical instrument or get involved with organizations, the big question is whether or not what you are doing is enough.  Whatever you do to keep your mind engaged is a good thing but the tendency is to keep doing same thing.

Another concern is when hearing, vision, mobility or memory start to become an issue and a person becomes less and less involved in the things they used to like do. It is important to keep your mind active and not withdraw. Frequently, when working with clients with mild to moderate dementia, modifying activities of interest is one of the goals. When there is support from friends and family the outcome can be very positive.

Things to think about:

1. What does it mean to challenge your brain? This is an analogy I find makes the point very well. You know you are creating a challenging activity when you feel like you do when they change the layout in your grocery store. In my talks, when I mention this concept, most of the participants groan. It is about no longer being on automatic pilot.

2. When you think of upgrading your current memory fitness routine be open to thinking out of the box and add new things. Have that spirit of adventure and feeling there is nothing to lose. It is not about being perfect, it is about trying something different and feeling good about just making the effort.

3. It is import to challenge your brain because it:
__ supports brain health
__ supports a positive attitude
__ relieves boredom
__ makes you a more interesting person
__ enhances the quality of your days
__ improves self-esteem
__ connects you with new interests and people
__ increases the possibility of having a good time

Tips to consider:
One of the most important things to remember is that you need a variety of activities so different parts of your brain become engaged.
1. Find an activity where you need to think while doing the activity like planning a trip, making a new item for dinner, learning how to do a new fix it project or teaching a child how to play a game.
2. Take one of the activities that is familiar to you and do it in a new way such as using your other hand to wash the table, comb your hair or open a door. Try a new restaurant, drive  a different route, do your daily puzzles from a different newspaper,  or visit a store you have never been to before when you need a few groceries.
3. Find a project where there is continuous learning. Perhaps you will learn some words in a new language, then add to your vocabulary or study a subject of interest in depth over a period of time.
4.  It is also important to do things which make you think in a new way.  I am fascinated by examples of new ways to use common objects. You want things that make you do some problem solving such as redoing a closet, changing the layout of your furniture, or finding an entirely different route to a place you visit regularly.
5. Research supports remaining physically active. If you cannot maintain a previous level, find other ways to keep moving and exercising. Make sure you check with your doctor when you have to observe certain limitations.
6. Whether it is family or friends, staying connected is important. You get to keep your skills updated. Whenever possible expand that group to people of all ages and with varied interests. One of the many benefits of technology is that there are ever expanding opportunities for people to stay in touch all over the world. For those who are not comfortable with technology, encouraging others to help facilitate those opportunities is beneficial to all involved.

TO DO THIS WEEK – Think of something in each area and change it up. Create a new opportunity versus picking the same thing over and over.

Our bodies are meant to move. And our brains are built for novelty. Dr. Michelle Carlson

Explore some Brain Teasers by Kathryn Kilpatrick M.A. CCC/SLP
Check the Brain Aerobics Section of the Memory Fitness Blogs for more ideas

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 (www.memoryfitnessmatters.com) and Communication Connection(www.connectionsincommunication.com). 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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