Cognitive Exercises for Retirees to Keep the Mind Sharp

Posted By on July 22, 2022

For older adults, engaging in cognitive exercises can help you keep your mind sharp throughout your retirement years. Although there is no guaranteed way to prevent dementia, cognitive games and exercises can reduce your risk. They also provide a fun and enjoyable way to spend time each day.

“We are more likely to feel scattered, have trouble focusing, or experience forgetfulness if we don’t do things to exercise and keep our mind sharp. Just like we wouldn’t expect to go to the gym for 3 months and then forever have muscles and strength without continuing to exercise, the same applies to exercising our mind (healthline.com).”

At HarborChase Senior Living, we believe that life is meant to be celebrated and enjoyed. By providing residents with exceptional accommodations and unmatched hospitality, we ensure that days are full of enjoyment, connection, and vitality. As part of that commitment to our communities, we offer various opportunities for cognitive growth. Below, we will show you how to exercise the brain with some time-tested activities.

Puzzles & Other Brain Games

Some of the best cognitive exercises are games you can play with a friend or alone. One of those is a favorite for people of all ages – jigsaw puzzles. Whether you are working with 100 or 1,000 pieces, completing a puzzle can help maintain many cognitive skills that will keep your mind sharp, such as memory, creative thinking, spatial recognition, and hand-eye coordination.

If you are wondering how to exercise your brain in more competitive than collaborative ways, games such as chess or cards might be better options. These games work your memory as well as strategic planning and decision-making. Chess, in particular, is a great game for cognitive function as it requires that you plan several moves ahead of your opponent to gain strategic advantages.

For games you can play alone in your spare time, consider crossword puzzles, word searches, and sudoku. These can be completed with pen and paper or installed as apps on your smartphone or tablet.

Art & Music

Another great way to keep your mind sharp is to engage in art or music. Whether you choose to paint a landscape, illustrate a comic strip, or sculpt a beautiful object, participating in art is an excellent cognitive exercise and a wonderful way to reduce stress – giving your brain time to rest and engage in pleasurable activities.

Music is equally beneficial if you are searching for how to exercise the brain. For example, learning and retaining sheet music is an important memory exercise, while physically playing the notes requires repetition and active learning.

If you have never played music before, it is never too late to pick up an instrument and learn something new – which also happens to be an excellent way to strengthen cognitive function.

How to Exercise the Brain Every Day

If you don’t want to participate in specific events but still want to find opportunities to improve cognitive function, you can build exercises into everyday life. For example, if you are walking or driving home, consider taking a new route. When we drive the same route every day, we often go into ‘auto-pilot’ mode, making all the correct turns without consciously thinking about them. Choosing a new path takes you out of that mode of thinking and forces you to actively plan your route, make decisions, and remember where you are in relation to your final stop. It is an excellent and easy game to play.

You can also test your observational skills and memory while socializing with others. For example, during a conversation, observe 3-4 characteristics about the person you are talking to (for example, they are wearing a green shirt, square-rimmed glasses, and brown shoes). After talking to them, wait half an hour and test yourself. Do you remember what they were wearing?

This is another easy game to play with yourself every day that will help you maintain and build your cognitive strength.

HarborChase Senior Living communities allow residents to challenge themselves and enjoy new enrichment activities every day. Whether you are exercising in one of our fitness classes, enjoying an art or cooking class, or simply spending time with friends in one of our beautiful common areas, there is always a chance to keep your mind sharp.

Visit our website today to learn more about HarborChase Senior Living and find a community near you!

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