AgeCare / Resources / Blog / Retirement Living / Maintain Your Brain: Vary Your Routine


Maintain Your Brain: Vary Your Routine

Many of us love our daily rituals and routines; they help us to feel a sense of control and manageability in our lives. Older adults tend to be especially attached to their routines, mainly because many of them find that as they age they are less able to juggle different events and keep track of information. To cope with these challenges and maintain their independence, seniors find it necessary to create precise patterns (e.g., where they keep their important things and what time they get the mail), and often they resist the idea of changing their daily routines.


While it’s important to understand and preserve some consistencies in their day, it’s also important to challenge seniors to create variations in their patterns, recognizing that in order to keep the mind sharp, we need to deviate from rote actions and look for opportunities to challenge and stimulate and the brain. Specifically, studies have shown that the more we force our brain to stretch, the more likely we are to hold on to better brain function.


Here are some suggestions on simple ways to challenge the brain by altering basic daily routines:

  1. Vary the direction: Try a new direction when you go for your walk, or walk a different way to places you frequently visit.
  2. New places: Visit new places (restaurants, coffee shops, retailers) in your own community or even new spaces within your building.
  3. Relocate items: Switch things up in your bathroom, bedroom and kitchen cupboards. Force the brain to think before it reaches for common everyday items.
  4. Change the order: Don’t do the same thing at the same time each day. Consider doing different things all together, or doing the usual things in a different order.
  5. Change hands: Challenge yourself to do things with your opposite hand, like brushing your hair and teeth, opening and closing doors, operating the phone, etc.


Remember, keeping our brain fit is just as important as keeping our body fit, and both require our ongoing attention. Mental stimulation doesn’t have to be difficult it can be as simple as participating in a wide variety of tasks, or doing regular things differently each day.  And don’t forget to interact with people! Socializing is a great way to stimulate the brain!


Want more on keeping your brain active? Read our other Maintain Your Brain articles and stay tuned for Part 3 on Socializing and Getting a good night’s rest!

Read more: