3 Games and Activities for Seniors Worried about Alzheimer’s Risk.
There are 850,000 people with dementia in the UK, with numbers set to rise to over 1 million by 2025. This will soar to 2 million by 2051. 225,000 will develop dementia this year, that’s one every three minutes. 1 in 6 people over the age of 80 have dementia. That means that an awful lot of people are worried about Alzheimer’s.
70 percent of people in care homes have dementia or severe memory problems. There are over 40,000 people under 65 with dementia in the UK.
More than five million Americans currently live with Alzheimer’s Disease. Sadly, Alzheimer’s is the sixth leading cause of death in the United States, and one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia. Now that someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s every 66 seconds, people are realising that they should do whatever they can to stave off the disease. In fact, researchers study various ways of minimising the risk of developing the disease by exercising the brain and reducing the brain health deterioration that leads to Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. The good news is they have found a few games and activities people should participate in if they are concerned about their Alzheimer’s risk.
1. Learn a New Language.
It’s never too late to learn something new, and the mental stimulation you get by being bilingual is enough to delay the onset of Alzheimer’s by four years. When you speak more than one language, your brain gets more exercise than people who speak only one; your brain must switch between languages, and it gets a workout by controlling the languages when you listen and speak. Being bilingual develops parts of the brain that control executive functions and attention tasks.
Knowing that you may be reducing your risk of Alzheimer’s is wonderful motivation to learn a new language, so it’s a hobby that you’ll likely stick with for many years. It’s also a good idea to learn your new language with someone else; take a class with your friend or start learning with someone at your local senior centre. The socialisation aspect of learning a new language also exercises your brain because you will communicate more authentically with another person than if you passively listen to language recordings.
You also can play games to learn your new language. Some language teachers recommend playing Charades and Pictionary to put your new language skills to the test. You can play with a grandchild by making Post-It notes for objects around your home and them in your new language or going on a scavenger hunt for objects written in your new language. The more fun you have with your new language, the more engaged your brain will be, and the more exercise it will get to help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s.
2. Play Cards
Whether you love to play Solitaire or have a standing card club meeting with friends every week, you are exercising your brain and stimulating it to reduce the brain deterioration that is characteristic of dementia. Playing cards has notable cognitive benefits because you use problem-solving skills, memory skills, and communication skills when you play with other people. You have to concentrate, strategize, and anticipate your opponent’s next play while sharing stories and memories that stimulate your long-term memory. While any type of card game delivers much-needed mental exercise, Bridge is one game that researchers claim has a significant impact on your Alzheimer’s risk.
3. Participate in Social Activities
Socialising is one of the best ways to ward off dementia. When people become isolated, we withdraw and stop using the parts of our brains that control communication. If you don’t get social, you lose connections to the world and become depressed. Consistent human contact and interaction stimulate the brain in ways that do not occur when we are alone and isolated. Social contact improves your quality of life and slows the decline of memory. The more you engage with others, the more your brain is engaged. People often share stories and experiences from their past when they spend time with others, so socialising works both short-term and long-term memory.
There are nearly countless ways to participate in social activities to exercise your brain. Join a club or group that pursues a hobby you enjoy such as quilting or fly-tying. Visit a local senior centre and participate in their social activities. Grab a friend and attend a local bingo. Go to church, volunteer at a local organization, and start walking with a friend. The more you socialize, the better your physical and mental health will be, and the lower your risk of developing Alzheimer’s will become.
If you are concerned about your risk of developing Alzheimer’s or another form of dementia, learn a new language, playing cards, and socialise every chance you get.
This is a guest article by George Mears. This is what he says about himself: “I’m a brain fitness expert. A major area of interest for me, currently, is how brain exercises like games, puzzles, and memory activities help us to minimize the brain health deterioration that can lead to Alzheimer’s and dementia.” As you can tell, George comes from over the pond, but his ideas will help people worried about Alzheimer’s – and keeping it at bay – in the UK.
We would add that contacting us to get your Lasting Powers in place is essential, as there are plenty of other misfortunes which you may suffer much sooner, no matter how much you may worry about Alzheimer’s.