Dementia is a set of symptoms that can accompany a number of neurological conditions such as Alzheimer’s disease, vascular dementia, and cerebral strokes to name a few. Although dementia is not exclusively observed in elders, aging does play a significant role in most instances.
If you or someone else in your family has developed certain symptoms of dementia, then immediate medical inspection is highly advised. Post diagnosis, the following activities can be undertaken or administered to delay the neurodegeneration.
The lack of socialisation that aging adults often suffer from is not exactly a cause for dementia, but it can most certainly exacerbate the underlying condition. On the flipside, it has been found that seniors who socialise regularly experience a delayed progression of even lethal neurodegenerative diseases like Alzheimer’s.
Neurostimulation through Hobbies
Engaging regularly in hobbies such as painting, acting, dancing, reading, creative writing, woodworking, metalworking, pottery, playing instruments, and singing, among others, stimulate the brain and the central nervous system. St Peter’s House care home in Bury St Edmunds understands, facilitates, and encourages every one of their residents to utilise this very principle to its fullest potential.
Such stimulation on a regular basis can not only delay brain degradation in most cases, but they can also delay the onset of dementia in elders who are genetically prone to it. Engaging in a set of varied hobbies will work best, as doing so engages multiple sections of the brain, allowing for new neural connections to form.
There is scientific proof to suggest that even the act of earnestly trying to solve puzzles can help in keeping the mind sharp, even after developing symptoms of dementia. As per prior studies, the following should be most beneficial.
- Crossword puzzles
- Anagrams and cryptograms
- Jigsaw puzzles
However, it should be noted that the puzzles should be progressively difficult to solve, or the act of solving them will not be as effective as it should be.
Games: Analog and Digital
Digital video games, especially racers, shooters, 3D platformers, and VR games can be quite beneficial in helping seniors with dementia. While there are other types of video games that can also help, the combination of depth perception, neurological coordination and dexterity that these games require makes them ideal for stimulating the brain.
Analog games such as classic board and card games exercise the brain in a different manner, but they too can have a very positive impact on the aging human brain. Some of the most effective classic games associated with keeping cognition active in old age include chess, Monopoly, and bridge.
Daily physical exercise is not just recommended by experts, but it should also be considered mandatory. Even the simple act of walking for a few minutes every day stimulates and reactivates neuromuscular and neural connections which would otherwise atrophy much faster in someone suffering from dementia.
Given that an individual with dementia may have other health conditions as well, their exercise plan should be prepared in consultation with a supervising physician. Unless it is prohibited, resistance training (freehand, weights, swimming) is highly effective for seniors who wish to stay physically and mentally active. For those in more advanced stages of dementia, the options might be limited to physical therapy sessions.