Brain training to maintain and even improve cognitive functioning has received significant attention for its potential to enhance senior well-being, especially since the compelling results of the ACTIVE study in 2013. This groundbreaking study showed that seniors who participated in training to improve their reasoning, memory and processing speed abilities enjoyed markedly better cognitive function levels. Furthermore, the participants reported fewer difficulties during their daily activities and were less likely to experience a decline in their quality of life.
Many brain training programs designed with seniors in mind can help you sharpen your cognitive abilities from the comfort of your assisted living apartment. BrainHQ is one of the best-known options, offering convenient, tailored programs to enhance thinking speed, memory and attention. Various studies confirm the efficacy of its programs. For instance, a 2023 pilot investigation on cognitive training outcomes determined that all the participants experienced significant improvements in focus skills using the BrainHQ training model.
However, you don't have to pay for a subscription to enjoy online brain training activities. Various organizations offer free brain training games, including the American Association of Retired Persons (AARP). Anyone can access a range of word, trivia and pattern puzzles through the association's website. AARP members can enjoy premium options, including themed crosswords and mah-jongg games.
Socializing with family and friends offers significant health benefits for seniors, including enhanced cognition. Research shows that enjoyable social interactions tend to boost cognitive function in older adults, and the results are virtually immediate — a 2021 Penn State University study found that participants experienced heightened performance for 3 days after socializing.
Maintaining an active social life can also boost your physical well-being and may help you live a longer, healthier life. In fact, a long-term study tracking older adults in China found that people who socialized nearly every day lived significantly longer than those who rarely socialized. The more often a person enjoyed social interactions with others, the longer they lived on average.
All pleasant social interactions can be beneficial, whether that means relaxing with loved ones in your assisted living suite or getting involved in the vibrant social calendar at LifeStream at Sun City. From community worship in our on-site chapel to group exercise programs, the friendly neighborhood atmosphere supports seniors to nourish treasured social connections and meet new friends.
Stress is an inescapable part of life at any age, but too much can impact your cognitive abilities as you get older. Studies show that chronic stress changes the way your brain functions, potentially impacting thinking skills and increasing the risk of anxiety and mood disorders. Fortunately, developing health stress-management strategies can help you cope with stressful times and boost your psychological and cognitive well-being.
The best way to manage stress as an older adult varies from person to person, and it's worth trying several strategies to find what works for you. The National Council on Aging recommends meditation to cope with difficult thoughts and manage the physical sensations associated with stress. You can learn effective meditation strategies by joining a class or using a mindfulness app. Programs like Headspace offer guided meditations, problem-specific courses and soothing soundscapes to help induce calm and enhance mental wellness.
You don't have to face stress alone. If simple self-help measures don't work or you need support with a specific issue, getting help from others can help you tackle stress at its source. The team at LifeStream is always on hand to provide practical and emotional support, and community members can access therapy services on-site.
Getting too much or too little sleep is associated with cognitive decline, so good sleep habits could help you maintain your cognitive abilities while promoting physical and mental health. How much sleep you need as an older adult varies from person to person, but most seniors need around 7 to 9 hours each night.
While sleep problems such as insomnia and night waking are more common as you get older, many people sleep longer and better when they practice sleep hygiene techniques. Sleep hygiene means maintaining habits that promote healthy sleep quality and duration. The following tips could help you enjoy better sleep and improved cognition:
If falling or staying asleep continues to be an issue, consider consulting your health care provider. Your doctor can determine the cause of your sleep problems and recommend additional treatments or strategies to help.