Just like our bodies, if we stop using our minds, then they stop working for us. Often, a lot of memory problems and confusion that we relate to old age can be prevented by just keeping minds active.
This knowledge poses a massive challenge for nursing homes, where people often choose to spend a lot of time watching TV or doing very little. Care staff must respect residents’ choices, and no one can be forced into anything. However, if people are not given a choice to participate in activities that keep their minds active or are not brought out of their room even if they want to, then this could be considered neglect. In this case, a nursing home neglect lawyer is required.
If you are a career or a loved one of someone in a nursing home, here are some ideas for you to help keep elderly minds active in a nursing home.
A healthy, well-balanced diet can help keep a brain working properly. Nursing homes should be providing good, healthy food options. Vitamin B is important, as well as carbohydrates for energy and plenty of water. High cholesterol or high fat should be avoided as it can narrow arteries, which reduces blood flow to the brain. You can find out more about important foods as we age here.
Exercise helps get more oxygen to the brain and keeps it healthy. It has been proven to aid memory, reaction time, and reasoning abilities. If possible, take them on walks, if not there are plenty of exercises possible from a chair. You can find out more about exercises for elderly people here.
Your brain is a muscle and it should be exercised regularly. Studies show that simple brain exercises even help to improve memory and can create new connections in the brain. Although this gets more difficult as we get older, it is still possible. There are plenty of free brain exercise apps that you can put on a device if the resident is confident using a tablet, phone, or laptop. If not, you can also buy puzzle books or jigsaw puzzles. Or you could run quizzes for residents or play intelligent games such as scrabble or trivial pursuit.
It seems that everything you can say for your body is also true of the mind. Minds need rest just like our bodies. Watching TV or even sleeping doesn’t count as much as activities that actively calm the mind such as meditating, deep breathing, listening to music, chair yoga, therapeutic art, or hand massage.
Recalling past events can also be a learned skill. Memory games can help to train our brains. Another option is encouraging residents to remember their lives through old films, music, or starting up conversations about celebrities or news of their time. If you know the resident personally, you can also use memories that you have shared as well as pictures or objects of sentimental value.