Staying active and sharp takes some light commitment. Let’s strive to live long and happy–like Betty White! Lace up those shoes, grab a pen and paper, and get busy! Here are some additional tips and tricks for us to develop good habits that will help us to put the “GO” into our golden years! And the best part about these tips is, they can be fun!
Here are 12 exciting ways to keep yourself sharp and active:
1. Phone a friend! Staying engaged with your social network is not only rewarding, but it can also help your memory in the long run, because it keeps you engaged in your surroundings. When your brain is focused and engaged, it’s not in a daydream state, which is important to memory maintenance.
2. Hit the books! Reading can help memory and does wonders for our ability to interpret others. Join a library or community educational class. You may find classes at your local public schools, or discounted programs for seniors to take college courses. Perhaps you’ll meet some new friends there too!
3. Turn on the tunes! Listening to music comes with a host of benefits like lowering blood pressure and decreasing anxiety, as well as benefiting memory and improving mood and focus. Music activities just happen to be one of the fan favorites for our Edgewood Residents!
4. Meditate! Meditating can help you to manage chronic stress. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on memory. Manage stress and you may have better odds for a strong memory, a win-win!
5. Get some Z’s! Getting enough sleep impacts your memory. Those who are sleep deprived can perform poorly on cognitive tests compared to those who are not. Who doesn’t enjoy a nice cozy nap now and again?
6. Get your game on! Playing brain games can help to strengthen the brain. Scrabble, crossword puzzles, and the new and exciting internet craze “Wordle,” are fun and challenging ways that can help you stay sharp. Sharpen your pencils, charge your tablet, or pick up the phone and call your bud for a game night!
7. Write it out! Think back to when you were in school and wrote notes by hand. Wasn’t it easier to remember what you learned when you wrote it out by hand versus typing? Writing by hand takes time, and this art has been lost for many thanks to technology. If you can write each day, even just a journal about your day, it may help your memory stay strong.
8. Break out the hobbies! Sewing, knitting, crocheting, weeding the garden, or cooking/baking are all great hobbies. Look for tasks that require repetition. Repetition increases serotonin production in the brain. Serotonin is the chemical responsible for mood regulation and happiness. Increasing serotonin function may prevent memory loss. Think of the repetition involved in a hobby like knitting. Knitting requires repetitive movements and counting, and best of all, you get to enjoy your knitted creation!
9. Drink your water! Being dehydrated can be associated with short-term memory deficits. Remember 8 and 8; drink eight 8-oz glasses per day. Opt for water-rich fruits and veggies too, like watermelon and cucumber to keep you hydrated and healthy.
10. Lace ’em up! Aerobic exercise may help to keep your memory strong. You don’t have to take up kick boxing or strenuous activity–even starting small, with an activity like walking, can help your brain.
11. Volunteer! More hands make less work! Do good for others and yourself too. April is National Volunteer Month; celebrate by lending a hand. Whether you’re part of a club or a church group, or you just enjoy helping others, volunteer work is meaningful and fun, and it may keep you sharp!
12. Live in color! Pick up a paint brush, or some colored pencils, and color yourself happy! There are lots of fun and intricate coloring books on the market for adults. During the month of April 2022, if you tour an Edgewood Community, mention this blog, and receive a free Edgewood coloring book and colored pencils (while our supplies last).
Coloring and doing artwork boosts memory and creativity, but don’t stop there; put some color on your plate too! Eating a variety of colorful fruits and vegetables can help you stay sharp! Eat your leafy greens, and don’t forget the beans! Higher flavonoid intake has been linked to cognitive maintenance. Flavonoids are compounds found in fruits, vegetables, tea, herbs and wine, and they’re partially responsible for food’s vibrant colors. Foods such as blueberries, beets, broccoli, walnuts, seafood and kale are considered brain-healthy foods.
Inside our Edgewood communities, we’re actively keeping our Edgewood residents engaged and on the move. Ashley Magner, Edgewood’s Corporate Life Enrichment and Memory Care Services Director, explained, “We get to know each resident as part of our life enrichment program, so we can offer something that meets everyone’s needs and interests. Our focus is on ‘I cans’ not the ‘I can’ts.’ We offer range-of-motion exercises, yoga, Tai Chi, upper body weights, dancing activities, bean bag toss, and bowling. We do a lot of arts and crafts projects, music therapy, church and bible study, trivia and other brain exercises, and beauty treatments like manicures and personal care activities–even the simple act of applying lotion to someone’s hands is such a feel-good activity. We also offer BINGO, which is a fan favorite too, but Edgewood is not “all BINGO.” Senior living facilities tend to get a bad rap for that. We love to be creative, and we provide activity calendars to keep everyone informed. Seeing the residents enjoy themselves and feel purposeful is the most important part of our activities program.”
Edgewood provides activities that create cognitive, physical, spiritual, emotional, and social pathways for our residents to stay engaged. Activities vary based on each of our 64 communities, but we offer something for all, including creative chair exercises like balloon or beach ball tossing for those who may be a fall risk, or for those who require a mobility device to be safe. For those who are more mobile, we offer outings to a variety of locations, such as shopping, meals, or even just a scenic drive sometimes. If people want to stay busy, Edgewood is here to help! Click here to learn more about Edgewood’s activities.
If you’re interested in becoming a volunteer to up your activity game or make someone’s day, please reach out to your local Edgewood Community. We can be reached online at firstname.lastname@example.org! We love having volunteers join us. Most commonly our volunteers come in to help with church, bible study, pet therapy, or hobbies like quilting, but sometimes they call Bingo or help with everyone’s favorite, music socials! Volunteers play a big part in making our activities program a success.