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.
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!