Karishma Patel, MD is a primary care physician who specializes in geriatrics at Tufts Medical Center Primary Care-Woburn. Dr. Patel shares her insight on ways to keep your brain and body healthy, stay active as you age and help care for relatives or friends with cognitive decline.
Are brain ‘game’ exercises recommended for patients?
It is never too early to begin exercising your mind. Research shows that the more active the mind, the less likely that thinking skills will decline. Activities like board games, puzzles, crosswords, or online memory games are all great ways to keep a sharp mind. Some of these options can be done with others, as a way to socialize.
Another way to keep your mind sharp is to sign up for adult education classes. No matter how old you are or what you are interested in, it’s never too late to learn something new!
Can these games help patients with Alzheimer’s or dementia?
Neither education nor brain exercises are a sure way to prevent Alzheimer's. But they may help delay symptoms and keep the mind working better for longer.
What are other ways to improve memory besides brain games?
There are lots of ways to improve memory. In addition to games and exercises, here are a few suggestions:
- Start a diary—recount old stories of your younger years to share with family and friends.
- Increase social interaction—get involved at a senior center, spend time with family, or play games with friends on a regular basis.
- Watch your diet- be sure to be eating a diet high in fresh fruits and vegetables, the antioxidants are great for your brain! Studies also show a benefit from caffeine consumption, so have a cup of coffee or tea each day.
- Quit smoking—while this can be difficult, stopping smoking has health benefits that extend beyond just your mind.
- Go for a walk—physical activity keeps your brain functioning at it’s best. If a walk around the block isn’t feasible, try some in-home exercises, like balancing on one foot for up to 20 seconds. Exercise benefits your brain, but it also helps your heart, lungs, and overall physical condition.