As we get older, one of the most common concerns is experiencing changes to our memory. While this can be a cause of great worry, occasional forgetfulness or lapses in memory are considered normal and are not necessarily a sign of any underlying conditions.
Despite this, there is much we can do to keep our minds and memories sharp. At our Aged Care Residences, we encourage our residents to participate in a range of activities that are designed to be fun and beneficial to brain function. Both our staff and residents enjoy the opportunity to try new things and challenge themselves.
So read on as we share a snapshot of the engaging activities available for residents to keep their minds and memories sharp.
Art and crafts
Whether you see yourself as creative or not, arts and crafts activities are a wonderful way to tap into a part of the brain that is often neglected in everyday life. The simple act of painting or making something with your hands can spark joy, bring back memories and even unearth hidden talents.
Our lifestyle coordinators organise and run many wonderful sessions and programs for our residents to explore their creative side. This includes the popular art studio at Bayview Place Aged Care Residence, where residents can work independently on activities or together as a group. A recent mosaic art project produced some wonderful work including mosaic pavers, pot plants and a gorgeous birdbath, as did a popular shell crafts session.
Experts have described music as a ‘total brain workout’ and the benefits can be felt from both listening to music and playing an instrument. Music therapy is now widely practised with dementia patients and has been achieving positive results.
Listening to familiar music, especially the artists and songs we listened to in our younger years, can be used as a powerful tool for recollection. But unfamiliar music can also be beneficial because there are no memories attached, allowing for an open and positive experience.
Staying active is vital for overall health, including brain function. The increased blood flow and release of endorphins and serotonin not only makes us feel good, it can also contribute to the production of new brain cells.
Beneficial movement can come in the form of walking, dancing, aqua aerobics, or anything else that gets your blood flowing a little faster. It can be done individually, or as a group to up the fun factor and increase motivation. Residents at our Bundaberg Aged Care Residence did us all proud when they planned a walkathon, and it proved to be a great hit, with lots of prizes and plenty of fun. The winners clocked up an incredible 145 laps each!
Games and puzzles
Games are fun no matter your age and there are endless possibilities. Some of the activities we have on offer at all times include jigsaw puzzles, find a words, board games and quizzes. You can stimulate the brain further by trying different puzzles and mixing it up. For example, if you enjoy a daily crossword, swapping it for a sudoku a couple of days a week is a great way to keep things interesting and further challenge yourself.
Celebrations and reminiscence
Another powerful tool that assists with memory and recall is reminiscence. This can be as simple as a one on one informal chat between a staff member and resident about a photo or special trinket, or be an organised group activity where stories are shared on various discussion topics. At Cypress Gardens Aged Care, residents meet regularly for ‘Armchair Travel’ where they discuss various places they have travelled throughout their lives and lots of interesting stories of faraway places are remembered and brought to life. Special days are also a great time to get together, celebrate and discuss traditions and special memories, whether this be a milestone birthday, Christmas or even Lunar New Year.
Keep it fun and mix it up
At TriCare we are always striving to provide enjoyable activities for residents and continue to look for new ways to keep it fun and varied to maximise the health and social benefits. Each day provides another opportunity to create special moments and enhance the health and happiness of our residents. We often share stories of special activities and events on the blog, so keep an eye out to see what we’re up to next!
Would you like to know more about daily life in our aged care communities or find out about nearby Aged Care Residences? Get in touch with our team for an informal chat, or book a free aged care consultation call today.