As the baby boomer generation begins to move toward the final stages in life, it can be difficult to know how to help them maintain memory, cognitive focus, and more. If you’re a Generation X caregiver to a parent or just want to help your parents stay sharp, there are some simple things you can do that will help them keep their minds active. If you’re curious about great ideas to stimulate the minds of aging parents, read on.
A great way to not only stimulate an older parent’s mind but to spend time with them is to pick up a few jigsaw puzzle games. Whether you have them personalized with a favorite picture that could trigger a trip down memory lane or you just spend hours together searching for that last edge piece, you’ll be getting them thinking. When searching for a jigsaw puzzle, consider looking for puzzles that, when completed, will interest them. If their favorite animal is a rabbit, for example, try a specific Google search for puzzles with pictures of bunnies and other cute animals. Think about picking up puzzle glue and the right sized frame, too. Knowing they’ll be able to keep and frame their achievement might motivate them to find those last stubborn edge pieces.
Puzzles come in many shapes and forms, not just jigsaws. Crosswords, sudoku, or other mind bender puzzles could be a great gift idea for aging parents, too.
Perhaps you have a parent with dementia or another illness requiring caregivers or an assisted living arrangement. Maybe you have a mother in assisted living in Boonton Township, NJ and aren’t able to travel to see her often because of your job in Boston. You can have better peace of mind when it comes to your mother’s senior care if you’re providing her with new puzzles, board games, and other things to do while you’re away with her friends at her assisted living center.
Board games are a great way to stimulate the mind in that they encourage social interaction and critical thinking. They can be a great way to spend time together, too.
Any games or events that require answers to trivia questions are a great way to stimulate the mind for people of all ages. When thinking about ideas for things you could do with your older parents, look into trivia nights at your local community center or church group. Playing on a trivia team for cash prizes or gift cards would be a fun way to spend the night with Mom or Dad that’s both affordable and would help keep them thinking. For trivia at home, consider trivia-related board games and apps. A quick Google search for trivia apps or trivia for seniors could lead to a fun family night with a theme.
Whatever event or activity you plan, a great way to stimulate the mind is to ask your parent to participate in the planning. Especially if you don’t have time to set the plan for a family reunion, birthday, or other special events, you could ask your retired parent to jump out. By having a specific task or purpose, they’ll be more inclined to engage in problem-solving.
In the end, simple activities like working on a jigsaw puzzle with a parent can mean not only great memories but a better chance at pushing off natural signs of dementia, Alzheimer’s Disease, or other cognitive issues. If you have a family member in their senior years who could use some fun activities to keep their mind busy, now might be the perfect time to pick up a jigsaw puzzle or board game you can have fun with together. Not only will your parent thank you for it, but they could benefit from it, too.