Caring for seniors: tips for improving memory and enhancing quality of life
By Colleen Van Horn, RN, B.S.N., PHN, CCM
Caring for seniors can be a challenging task, but it can also be a labor of love – and even a golden opportunity to forge new memories with aging family members. As noted in a recent piece for The Washington Post, today’s seniors are living longer, making physical and mental health paramount for optimal quality of life. The following tips can help seniors keep their minds sharp and their memories clear. Working together to perform mental exercises and preserve precious memories strengthens family bonds and benefits mental health.
Mental exercise is just as essential to overall health as physical exercise; and when it comes to aging individuals, it is especially critical to incorporate mental activity into one’s daily routine. Effective memory games come in all forms, from crosswords and Sudoku puzzles to online games and quizzes. Even trivia games like “Trivial Pursuit” can help seniors practice recalling a wide variety of facts and events – all while having fun in the process.
Photo collections can act like prompts for the memory, reminding us of specific people, places and events that inspire us to recall specific details of a given day, trip or group of people. Looking over photo albums or going through collected pictures online is another great way to bring families together while simultaneously strengthening seniors’ memories. Try sitting down with an old album and asking an aging loved one to tell stories about the photos inside, or looking at pictures from past holidays and vacations so that everyone can participate in telling stories about their memories.
Individuals of all ages can reap countless benefits from keeping a journal. But seniors can get even more out of the journaling process by maintaining a record, not only for their daily thoughts and activities, but also for names, dates, facts and other information that can be difficult to remember over time. Like photo albums, journals can also provide a vehicle for sharing stories and experiences – and one that can be recorded on paper or online for maximum versatility and accessibility.
These activities are helpful for people of all ages. But for children of aging parents and other caregivers, memory-enhancing resources can be especially important.
When it comes to ensuring your aging loved one’s health and well being, Innovative Healthcare Consultants is here to help. Our professional geriatric care managers can provide advice and customized care planning to assist you in creating the best possible routine for yourself and your family. To learn more about geriatric care management in Del Mar, or to find out about healthy living resources for seniors in your community, visit us online today at www.innovativehc.com.
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