May was Mental Health Awareness Month: Here are a few Activities to Keep Your Brain Active

By Pam Canty, Intake and Screening Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan

Sometimes when we forget things it makes us frustrated even if it’s just, “Where did I put my keys?” It makes us think we are getting older because society keeps reminding us that only older adults are forgetful. Also, it suggests, if we do not keep our brain active that small forgetfulness may become major forgetfulness in our daily activities. Since COVID-19, many seniors have been isolated, and their usual daily actives have been minimized. Therefore, some seniors may not be activating their brain to the maximum capacity. We must exercise our brains just like we exercise our bodies. 

According to Healthy Women, By the time we reach our early twenties our brains have reached their full size and will begin to decline in volume as we age. Fortunately, there are indications that the brain can regrow. If you spend time regularly exercising your brain and body, your brain can learn new skills and retain new information throughout your entire life. Some people have a harder time learning new things as they age. However, parts of the brain, like the parts that hold habit-based memory are untouched by age. Habit-based memories are skills that have been learned through repetition and practice, like riding a bike.

According to Home Care Assistance, there are a few things we can do to stimulate our brain activity:

  1. Brain games such as puzzles, card games, and video games,
  2. Reading and writing with journals, a book club, or handwriting letters or cards,
  3. Arts and crafts,
  4. Learning a new skill,
  5. Dancing and listening to music,
  6. Exercising,
  7. Calling friends or family, and
  8. Learning something new every day.

Hopefully, COVID-19 will be contained, everyone who wants the vaccine will receive it, and life can resume. It may not go back to the way it was before COVID-19 but at least we may be able to use some of the above activities to stimulate our brain. 

Pam Canty is an Intake and Screening Integration Coordinator at Elder Law of Michigan and has been a member of the Elder Law of Michigan team since 2005. As an Intake and Screening Coordinator, Pam helps seniors in Michigan apply for food assistance and other benefits.