Memory Building Activities for Brain Fitness

How do you challenge your brain? Research supports the benefits of keeping your brain sharp by upgrading your memory fitness routine. Are you someone with a couple of favorite mind challenging activities that you do repeatedly? Are you open to seeking out some unique and more challenging activities?

In my professional role as a speech-language pathologist and memory fitness coach, whether it is during presentations on memory fitness or working with someone to create a personalized brain fitness program,  it is not unusual for people to resist change. When someone is experiencing memory challenges with normal aging or has been diagnosed with (MCI)Mild Cognitive Impairment,  their brain exercise program is as important as staying physically active.  Much of the time I spend with my home health patients experiencing mild to moderate Alzheimer’s disease or related dementias focuses on modifying activities of interest to an appropriate level with cues so that they can remain engaged with those who are part of their support system. What can transpire is an improved quality of life for all involved when the person with memory changes is less bored and more interactive.  Comments have often included how happy they are to see that their brain “still works” when given activities they once enjoyed modified to their current capabilities.

In the next few months there will be a new series of blogs  - Keep Your Brain Sharp. The focus is to help expand the scope of ideas available to activity professionals, care partners and others who spend time with those who can benefit from a brain fitness program at any age. Suggestions for modification and additional activities will be offered for those individuals who are experiencing memory difficulties at various levels and find it hard to do certain activities such as the crosswords puzzles that they enjoyed for many years.

In my staff training programs, attendees are acutely aware that with the baby boomers coming along, some of the traditional activities are not going to be as appealing. It has been exciting in recent months to have more clients using computers, laptops and IPads and being able to introduce them to something beyond their games of solitaire or word search puzzles.

In a recent therapy session, I was so delighted when the spouse of one of my patients used the flash drive of a new product (Word Challengers) to put the worksheet up on a large TV screen. His wife needed the information in larger print and this gave them a way to solve them together.  Breaking out of a routine is hard and sometimes a person can use a little help finding appropriate new resources.

Getting started:
1. Practical information on memory fitness and successful aging  and what really matters.  Other  topics of interest might include some basic memory strategies or a more in-depth look at the 7 day memory fitness plan.  The Memory Fitness Toolkit offers additional information and a wide variety of brain games.

2.  “Memory Matters” for ALL Ages  is a local cable TV show on YouTube with corresponding blogs providing more details and resources.

3. Many of these activities can be incorporated into programs for older adults at Independent senior livingassisted living, and senior centers.  For those with dementia, here are some ideas to help them stay engaged in activities at their level.

4. Products for memory fitness and brain games galore.

5.  A sample of ideas to challenge your brain.
Complete the Sequences
Word Associations
Complete Number Sequences
3 Simple Ways

6. Another great resource with games for all ages is Dr. G’s BrainWorks online store

7.  Sign up to receive the upcoming blogs which will offer ideas of ways to use and modify some of the Memory Building Activities for Brain Fitness that I have created over many decades. They were developed for use in the rehabilitation programs for those experiencing memory and cognitive challenges by speech-language pathologists who are another resource to consider when looking for assistance with communication strategies as well as activity modification.

Additional resources to Keep Your Brain Sharp

I’m open for possibilities.
I’m open for choices.
I always welcome new ideas.
I’m always eager to learn.
I’m never going to close my mind from learning. 
Cesar Millan

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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