We read a lot about how important it is to eat right, to exercise and maintain a healthy lifestyle as one ages. But, why is it that people always talk about exercising the body and not the mind? It is equally important to keep the brain active as onegrows older as this will not only help the elderly think and feel young but will also help keep age related mental issues at bay.
Neurocognitive disorder or dementia is a steady decline in mental ability in the elderly that can be severe enough to interfere with daily life. It can give rise to age related mental disorders like memory loss and Alzheimer’s.
Common causes of age related mental issues in seniors
- Social isolation
- Medical conditions
- Lack of intellectual activities
First signs of a cognitive disorder in the elderly
- Confusion and disorientation
- Getting lost
- Forgetting where things are kept
- Not remembering people and places
- Problems in focus and concentration
- Feelings of hopelessness
- Decrease or increase in appetite
- Weight fluctuations
- Attention seeking
- Phantom Fatigue, insomnia
Tips to keep seniors young at heart
Keep them active
You can plan outings with them on a regular basis. It could be something small like a dinner or a movie, or a much bigger activity like a family trip. Let them be in charge ofsome part of the planning. Keep them involved in all aspects of the activity. Listen to their ideas and have discussions.
Keep them current
Encourage them to read the daily papers. Discuss current affairs with them. Introduce them to new music, new movies and new books. It is a great way for them to interact and spend time with their grandchildren too. Get them crossword puzzles and Sudoku and other brain teasing games.
Keep them productive
A lot of seniors feel useless and unproductive as their family is busy with their own lives. Involving them in family activities like house hunting, investment planning or in celebrations like anniversaries and birthdays gives them something to think about and to look forward to.
Keep them connected
Arrange reunions with their old friends, and other family members. It can be something as small as a brunch or you can have a bigger celebration on a birthday or anniversary. Download skype on their phones so that they can interact face to face with friends and family.
It is heartbreaking to see a capable and dignified elder looking confused and lost over small things. That is why it is important to keep your senior mentally active as this will help prevent or at least delay age related mental issues.