Some twenty years ago scientists discovered that brain 're-wiring' was possible – regardless of age. This discovery, known as 'neuroplasticity' - that some form of brain plasticity remains active throughout life - is one of the most important developments in modern science in terms of our understanding of the brain.
Brain plasticity refers to the ability of the brain to reorganize and heal itself. It means that with the right mental stimulation, the brain can create new neural connections to adapt to its needs.
The good news is that the brain can be 'exercised' at any age.
Elders living in assisted care or Nursing homes are particularly at risk of age-related cognitive decline. It is important for Activity Professionals to support and promote successful aging by offering brain and physical fitness exercises according to the needs of individuals.
Research indicates that under the right circumstances, brain exercises can improve memory, agility, and dexterity in adults. Other lifestyle factors such as good nutrition and physical activity enhance the benefits of such exercises.
An important element Activity Professionals should consider is motivating their clients to participate by explaining the possible rewards of the activities. Remind clients of the theory “Use it or Lose it” which means that if you don't continue to practice or use an ability, you might lose it.
Suitable cognitive games will entice participation and cooperation amongst clients.
'Mind Games' or 'Brain Fitness' activities refer to testing the memory, reflexes, vocabulary, spatial intelligence, speed, accuracy, and brain creativity.
Examples of stimulating brain games are: Crossword Puzzles, Card Games, Scrabble, Sudoku, and even Bingo.
There are also a variety of resources online: