Community Blog

5 Simple Ways to Keep Your Parent's Mind Sharper

By Vicki and Brian Day

Elder Care in Lehighton PA

Some slowing down of cognitive processing and memory recall in older age is a normal part of aging. This does not mean, however, that your parent simply has to accept these limitations. Instead, making an effort to keep their mind sharp and active is an important part of supporting their function and quality of life throughout their later years.

Try some of these simple ways that you can help keep your parent's mind sharper:

• Listen to music. Music can be a powerful tool in your parent's later years. Often used in therapy, music stimulates the mind in a variety of ways. When your aging parent listens to music they experience different emotions, which keeps the brain working. Music can also trigger memories, which supports better memory retention and recall. Consider having music on during the day in the background, or playing music and asking your parent to tell you what that music makes you think and feel.

• Play board games. Board games are designed to promote interaction among people. This in of itself is fantastic for the mind, but the benefits go further. When your parent is playing these games they must remember the rules, go through the steps of each turn, and think strategically to determine what they are going to do next. Consider inviting your children to play a multigenerational game with their grandparents for an emotional boost that also supports a stronger, sharper, faster mind.

• Organize together. The next time that you need to clean up and organize a closet, drawer, or other part of the home, do it together. Encourage your parent to evaluate what is in this part of the house and figure out the best way to clean and organize it. This can mean determining what to keep, donate, and throw away, or just ways to better store the items so that they are more easily accessible and not as cumbersome.

• Correspond with loved ones. Encourage your aging parent to maintain contact with friends and family through writing letters. Forgo email, text messaging, and social media, and instead actually take the time to write out letters and mail them. This is a much more personal and meaningful way to keep in touch and stimulates your parent's mind. The actual act of writing out words triggers more of the mind and requires more thought and memory than typing, and also appeals more to the emotions, which is why written letters tend to be more meaningful and deep than emails.

• Learn new words together. Growing your vocabulary is a fantastic way to strengthen your mind. Work with your parent to learn new words every day. This will keep their cognitive processing and their memory skills sharper and more responsive, and make your communication more expressive and interesting.

Starting an elder care arrangement for your aging parent is a fantastic way for you to encourage a sharper, more active mind in your aging parent. An elderly home care services provider can create a personalized approach to care and support that encourages your loved one to stay active, engaged, and as independent as possible as they age in place.