As we get older, we slow down, our minds start to blur, and the gray creeps in. However, physical and mental health is important during all stages of life. After all, age is just a number right? Use this toolkit as a guide for brain and body-boosting activities for seniors of all abilities, as well as resources for further learning.
Stay in the Know
While you might disagree with what age you start to qualify as a senior, the fact is that seniors are a unique demographic. Due to this, seniors require their own personalized information for various life situations. You’re in luck, as some of the most informational ones can be found right here:
- AARP – advocates for your needs via information, initiatives, projects, and services
- NCOA – promotes the well-being and success of seniors via helpful resources
- Senior Journal – direct access to news and resources pertaining to seniors
- NIA – helpful and thorough information on various health issues often experienced by seniors
- HUD – information on housing options for seniors, including financial assistance
Activities for Mental and Physical Health
Continuing with the “age is just a number” theme, there are several activities for seniors that can jumpstart both your mental and physical health, regardless of age and mobility. The following are just a few to get you started:
1. Brain Games – Over time, natural aging causes a decline in cognitive ability, such as memory. To fight back, you must essentially exercise your brain. Crossword puzzles are one of the most effective memory exercises, followed by Sudoku. Both require memory, logic, and concentration. Card games such as Poker, Solitaire, Rummy, and Go Fish help to delay memory loss and preserve brain vitality, and strategy games such as Chess keep the brain fit too. Pull out your favorite game and start playing!
2. Socialization – Who knew socializing could improve brain health? Spending time with others gives you a sense of belonging, promoting a positive outlook on life. In addition, an active social life encourages you to continue interacting and engaging with the world around you, learning new information and exercising the mind. Socialization can have an active bonus if it is done in a setting such as a group walk or exercise class.
3. Gardening – Many seniors tend to spend a lot of time indoors, creating a Vitamin D deficiency and an imbalance of brain hormones. Gardening is a great way to soak up some sun, promote a stress-free environment, and get a little exercise. Use raised garden beds to avoid having to bend over, and protect your knees with knee pads. Bring a stool to rest on, and plant seeds that grow upwards so you can tend to them from a chair or wheelchair.
4. Yoga – By practicing yoga, you combine movement minus the strain due to its extremely low impact. As you age, your range of motion deteriorates, leading to falls and trouble completing daily tasks. Yoga can increase your flexibility, and help you maintain your range of motion. Aside from its physical benefit, yoga is good for your brain, providing quiet time to reset and recharge.
More Activites to Try:
- Read a good book.
- Put on a chef hat.
- Channel your creative side.
- Walk it out.
- Go for a swim.
- Take a seat.
Staying active refers to both your mental and physical health, and while you might be a little slower, you can still do the activities you enjoy – it just might take some patience and adaptation. Remember, age is just a number.