Activities to Promote a Healthy Mind for People with Alzheimer’s

Activities to Promote a Healthy Mind for People with Alzheimer's

As we age, we may see a gradual – or sometimes not so gradual – decline in several areas of ourselves, especially our mind. Your brain is like a muscle. If it’s not exercised, like all other organs, your brain can begin to break down. And one of the most common brain disorders that is Alzheimer’s.

What is Alzheimer’s?

The majority of your brain’s power comes from 100 billion nerve cells, also known as neurons. And these neurons that power your mind are what control deciding, remembering, reading, moving, and other activities that involve planning and thinking. Furthermore, these nerve cells form connections – much more sophisticated than any computer system.

About one-tenth of people over 65 years old and almost one-half of people over 85 are affected by this disorder. Alzheimer’s causes the brain cells to lose their ability to form new connections with other cells, therefore making it hard for people to learn new information. But the effects of Alzheimer’s go beyond just losing the ability to learn new things.
This brain disorder can also cause existing connections to disappear, producing the most well-known effect of the disease: the loss of existing memories. It is still not known how or why it is that Alzheimer’s destroys brain cells, but scientists are continuously researching to try and find the answer. Meanwhile, there are things you can do to help someone you love cope with the symptoms.
Healthy Activities for Your Brain

There is no guaranteed way to prevent Alzheimer’s. However, there are plenty of healthy and safe activities that can help combat memory loss and delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. If someone you know suffers from this disease, try a few of these activities with them:

1. Listen to music.

Music is great for so many reasons. For example, it can help bring back specific memories if it is nostalgic. It can also be used to exercise language skills. It can even be used to improve mood. Research has shown that listening to music can help relieve stress or reduce anxiety, depression, and agitation in Alzheimer’s patients. When someone has Alzheimer’s disease, their musical memories are often still preserved because the disease leaves those critical areas of the brain relatively undamaged.

However, try to avoid overstimulation by eliminating competing noises and not turning it up too loud.

2. Color pictures.

While adult coloring books might be all the rage among stressed-out adolescents, it can also be a calming tool for those with Alzheimer’s. Do you remember as a child coloring your favorite coloring book and becoming completely engrossed in the activity? Well, it has this same effect on seniors. Because it is a very time consuming, distracting, and calming activity, it can often have the same results as meditation.

3. String beads.

Simple, yet fun tasks, such as stringing beads, are a great way to exercise the brain while avoiding frustration. Stringing beads is a good exercise for individuals in the early or middle stages of memory loss, and the activity can be modified appropriately. If someone is in the early stages of memory loss, smaller beads are best. If they are in the middle stages, the beads should be larger. This activity is a great way to practice hand-eye coordination.

4. Bake cookies.

While baking cookies seems like such a simple task, it is one that can help keep your mind in check. Doing regular activities more often could extend the amount of time that you remember how to do it. Often, people who develop Alzheimer’s start to hate something they once loved, such as baking. But baking with them can help them find it enjoyable again. It can also help them maintain their sense of purpose.

Additionally, something like baking incorporates several essential functions necessary for everyday life. Some research has even found that cooking could help prevent Alzheimer’s in the first place. And, it is rewarding to get a tasty treat at the end!

5. Exercise.

There are few things that a little bit of exercise can’t help. Physical activity has many known benefits, such as reducing diabetes and cardiovascular disease. However, it can also help benefit the brain and reduce the stress and anxiety that someone with Alzheimer’s might feel.

6. Card games.

While card games aren’t the only brain stimulating activity linked to better memory and larger brain volume, they are one of them. Card games stimulate the mind in such a way that allows it to resist damage longer.

7. Socializing.

The simple task of chatting with others and interacting with someone close to your age is a great way to exercise your brain. This involves listening, talking, and interpreting others’ emotions.

Talking with others their age, or close to their age, is also an excellent way for someone experiencing memory loss to remember nostalgic things.

Just like with other diseases and disorders, you have to make an effort to fight it off the best you can. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s yet, you can still slow the decline of its effects for as long as possible.