Solve A Puzzle A Day To Keep Dementia At Bay

Just as some people can’t function without their coffee in the morning, there are some people who wouldn’t think to start their day without doing the crossword puzzle. For some it’s habit, for some it’s a challenge, and for all of them, it’s one possible step toward warding off dementia.

For many years, doctors believed that Alzheimer’s and dementia were unavoidable. A person either was going to get it or not, but there was very little that could be done to prevent it. Researchers today, however, are convinced that lifestyle changes may play an important role in keeping the mind active – which in turn seems to hold dementia at bay. Some other factors that have been found to make a difference include exercise, eating healthy, avoiding stress and staying social. Many seniors and baby boomers are taking these recommendations to heart. And of those choices, doing crosswords and other puzzles sounds like one of the most fun!

Puzzles and games fall into the mental stimulation category and some people refer to this as the “use it or lose it” factor. It’s not just crosswords and Sudoku, although those are certainly two of the most popular. Learning new things and challenging your brain with any type of game or new activity would fit the bill.

Learn something new It could be a new language or just a new game. If you have played euchre your whole life, why not try bridge or gin rummy? The tasks of learning the rules and then figuring out the strategy to win exercise the brain equally.

Memorize something  Whether it’s a song or poem you’ve always loved or something less eloquent, the mental activity of committing something to memory is good for the brain. Why not start out with the state capitals or multiplication tables? Or play the Memory game with a grandchild.

Do the W’s  Utilise the 5 W’s concept throughout the day. Ask yourself Who, What, When, Where and Why when you come across something important to know. Paying attention to these details will help you remember the key elements.

Do the opposite Remember declaring Opposite Day when you were a kid? Well, it’s more than just silly – it helps your mind stay sharp. Do those crossword puzzles holding your pencil in the “wrong” hand. Deal the cards with the opposite hand, maybe in the “wrong” direction.

These lifestyle changes that researchers recommend are based more on observations than scientific evidence, but doing a crossword or playing a game is easy, fun, and generally inexpensive, so why not give it a try? And if you want to double down on your chances to increase your brain power, get a good night’s sleep and walk to a friend’s house where several other friends have gathered for Game Day.  Snack on healthy foods, enjoy each other’s company, play a game that teases your mind and leave the stress behind. What could be easier?

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