Taking Care of Your Folks During Their Golden Years

Why You Should Participate In Your Retirement Home's Scheduled Activities

Most senior living or retirement homes have a full calendar of on-site activities for their residents to participate in each month. In addition, there are often travel opportunities to events both near and far, either through the senior living facility or a city-based senior group.

Why should you take part in these activities? When it comes to aging, there are numerous benefits to exercising your mind and body.

The Importance of Staying Connected

It turns out that maintaining a full social calendar may help protect you from dementia and memory loss. A study from the Harvard School of Public Health has found that the more you interact with friends, family members and others in your retirement community, the better able you are to remember things.

Taking part in your retirement home's activities helps you stay connected to your existing friends and to make new acquaintances, which are both powerful ways to enhance your brain function.

Battle Memory Loss With New Activities

A typical brain loses about 1 percent of its cells each year after late middle age. If the neurons that connect cells and thus enhance memories are impacted by this loss, dementia can result. The good news is that there are ways to prevent the loss of brain cells. 

Make sure to choose activities that meet some or all of these criteria to help you improve your memory and combat loss of brain cells:

  1. It's new. Learning new things can give your brain a workout. So if you've always wanted to learn to paint or go kayaking, now is the time to give those activities a try.
  2. It's challenging. If you're doing something that demands your full focus, your brain will be building new neural pathways.
  3. It's something you can continue to build on. If you are learning a new skill, you can work on improving over time and keep building brain power through improved ability.
  4. It's fun. The more you're interested in the activity, the more powerfully your brain will work. 

Your brain simply doesn't work as hard when you participate in activities that you've always done. Don't lose the things you love and have done for much of your life, but be sure to do something that's new to you or that puts a new spin on the hobbies you enjoy.

When you choose a retirement home, look for one that offers a wide range of activities so you can take advantage of brain-boosting social connections and the ability to gain new skills. If you're already in a senior living community, like Hillcrest Assisted Living, talk to the activity director about adding new things you'd like to try.