Keeping physically active, maintaining a regular exercise routine, eating a healthy diet and getting the right amount of rest all play important roles to support you in meeting your wellness goals.
At Eskaton, we encourage brain-stimulating activities to promote healthy connections between nerve cells and even help generate new ones! Studies show that solving brain teasers, working on a crossword or Sudoku puzzle,, playing cribbage or other active-learning endeavors like studying a new language can sustain, and even improve, cognitive ability. But it doesn’t all have to be “by the book.” Activities that use your hands as well as your mind—like drawing or playing an instrument—can also improve brain health. Even listening to music or traveling can have positive effects. The point is to keep learning and experiment with new things!
We recommend a multi-pronged approach. There is a mind-body connection and the strategies to achieve the best results involve brain stimulation activities, aerobic exercises, sleeping well and maintaining a healthy diet.
Will keeping your brain active contribute to aging well?
Here is what we do know. Neuroplasticity is how the brain rewires itself and makes new connections in learning and stimulation, according to this Cedars-Sinai blog. It’s a continually changing process but one that enables you to preserve your memories and store knowledge gathered through the years. It also plays a large role in helping to fight off neurodegeneration, which is a condition that can lead to Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s diseases.
While exercises such as daily crossword puzzles are believed to keep your brain cells healthy, it takes a little more than that.
Repetitive activities don’t provide the level of stimulation that you need. So while it can’t hurt to sit down and work a Sudoku puzzle with your morning coffee, once you become practiced, you won’t receive the same benefits as when you started. What you need is a daily challenge.
Cribbage: A card game for everyone
Keeping our minds active is no doubt a priority. But there is also the old school of thought that as we grow older it’s also important to have fun. Choosing activities that provide a learning challenge while encouraging you to enjoy the moment and be more social contribute not only to your health but your quality of life as well.
Cribbage, a card game enjoyed by seniors, is one such example that has endured through centuries. Instead of using pencil and paper to score, it features a wooden board and pegs. Its appeal is evidenced by the fact that few changes have been made to the original rules. In the U.S. alone, Cribbage is estimated to be played by more than 10 million people, according to Britannica.com.
You don’t need to rely on gathering a group to join in the fun. This card game is typically played by two people, or four people can play as partners. It uses a standard deck of cards, with a ranking of King (high) to Ace (low). Face cards count 10 each, with all other cards counting as their index value. The goal is to be the first player to score 121 points which are accumulated for making different card combinations.
Scoring is called pegging because it’s typically kept by moving pegs on the Cribbage board. The board has 60 counting holes for each play, plus one game hole and each player has two pegs.
Don’t underestimate the benefit of having fun
While keeping your brain challenged may be work, the activities to achieve your goals can also be fun, whether it’s playing a game of bocce or a card game for seniors. Not only can you receive the benefits of improved thinking skills, memory recollection and a reduced risk of developing dementia or delaying its symptoms, the mere act of enjoyment can provide additional advantages to your overall health and quality of life.
Playing and having fun can offer these benefits:
- Relieve stress by triggering the release of endorphins
- Improve brain function and help reduce depression when enjoying the activity with others
- Stimulate the mind, boost creativity and spark imagination
- Improve relationships and connections to others
- Help in feeling more energetic while improving resistance to disease
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents with everything they need for purposeful living.
We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions that you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Just the Facts: Your Guide to Assisted Living. To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.