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"If you don't use it, you're going to lose it."

You've probably heard this old saying about the brain before. The brain is a muscle and if it isn't challenged and exercised, it can deteriorate, just like the rest of your body. Exercising the brain only gets more important as you get older, particularly to ward of early stages of dementia or Alzheimer's.

While the thought of dementia might be scary, there is still good news. Keeping your brain active and making it stronger is not only easy, it's fun as well! Today, we take you through a couple of classic and unique games that are so much like entertainment, you won't even realise you're training your brain!

1. Reading and writing 

Instead of sitting in front of the television all day, why not pick up a good book? Challenge yourself with new stories or a different genre than you are used to. Books open you up to another world, expanding your horizons even if you aren't actually leaving your living room!

Once you've read a couple of books that you fancy, try writing your own story! Use new words and styles of writing that you've picked up from your reading.

2. Video games 

They're not just for teenagers! Video games are actually great for seniors as they improve dexterity and challenge the brain to problem solve. You just need to play games like World of Warcraft for a couple of hours each week for better cognitive focus and mental capacity.

Pretty soon down the line, we think virtual reality (VR) games and settings are going to be a big part of aged care. VR head sets are a lot like video games in some ways, but they're going to do so much more than provide a couple hours of entertainment.

Art can even help seniors who have more advanced stages of memory loss communicate with their loved ones.

3. Arts and crafts

Unleash creativity! Art is good for the brain for a number of reasons, but it's especially good for those with dementia and Alzheimer's. Having a regular activity like painting or sculpting can be healthy, but arts and crafts have been known to improve cognitive abilities. And in some cases, art can even help seniors who have more advanced stages of memory loss to communicate with their loved ones. 

In general, however, working with the colours strengthens the mind as it works to create patterns and scenes that make sense together. All of this happens in your subconscious so you don't even know you're training your brain!

4. Lumosity app

There are tonnes of brain training apps available for curious minds, but Lumosity is one of the best. This app has a variety of games that exercise all areas of the mind – working on memory, attention, problem solving, processing speed and flexibility. These games are made especially for challenging and strengthening the mind. Most of the games have the player working against the clock – at the end, it will also show you areas of your brain that need working on.

5. Chess and checkers

You can't beat these old classics! There are so many different combinations of moves, you'll probably never play the same game twice. Because you have to think quickly and a couple of moves in advance, creating strategic plays and patterns these games have a truly unique element of creativity to them. Plus, you can't go wrong with a good ol' game of chess or checkers! 

Interested in learning more about personal aged care options? Contact our friendly team at Bannister In Home Care today.