How to activate the minds of the elderly? We offer you some simple tips and tricks that are especially useful to improve exercising both cerebral hemispheres and thus improve our mind.
Throughout life there is a tendency to stop using the mind and “empty” it of what worries us. Retirement undoubtedly marks a before and after in our routines and in the way we spend our free time.
Given that life expectancy in Spain is around 83 years, from retirement age 65 to 83 (with a bit of luck) obligations are fading and our life becomes an eternal Saturday.
As a Japanese proverb says: “we start to get old when we stop learning”. But why?
Useful tips to activate the minds of our elders
To use or throw away
Our brain is an effective, calculating and efficient organ. The functionality of this complex organ is based on: “use it or lose it.” What does this mean? The brain is constantly changing, new connections are permanently established and others are switched off. What is the criterion that our brain follows to erase connections? Our brain is clear: “either you use it or I forget it.”
In this way, when we stop using certain capacities, we end up losing them. So the fewer areas of the brain we exercise, the more neurons will stop being useful to us and therefore the fewer neural connections we will have. The consequences of this loss of connections can lead to dementia.
Changing our routines
Stopping work should not mean stopping using your mind. It is true that at younger ages what we look for in a vacation is to “disconnect” and turn off our brain for a few days. However, when we no longer have a “job” we must not fall into this trap.
Continued leisure leads to possible depressions due to unproductivity. By this we mean the feeling of not feeling useful. If we do not have routines or do not seek obligations, we will not have goals in life and therefore, if there is no goal to reach, “we abandon the race.”
Retirement should provide us with an opportunity to change our routines and set new goals. Study the career you always wanted and due to lack of time you could not, travel and see new places, dare with computers and new technologies, learn cooking, study a new language. These are just some examples that can mean a big change in our old age and in our quality of life.
Training the brain
Our brain is divided into two hemispheres. The right hemisphere is in charge of logic, mathematics, numbering, writing, and speech. The left focuses on feelings, emotions, creativity, and art and music skills.
When it comes to keeping our minds active and busy, we must attend to both parties in order to establish the greatest number of connections and alleviate the degenerative effects of age. Here we will explain some exercises that will help you stay in shape.
The right hemisphere
This hemisphere feeds on systematic and decisive work; therefore, exposing ourselves to mathematical problems or unresolved situations will help us. An example is: crosswords, Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, assembling puzzles, doing puzzles.
Writing and planning are also good resources for exercising this hemisphere, so why not write a novel or a short story? If you are going to travel, make a guide and plan where you want to go. Write what is most interesting to you and organize your stay.
The left hemisphere
You’re creative, emotional and artistic side also wants to be stimulated. There are simple exercises that can help you enhance your workout. For example, you can find new routes to get to your usual places, use different means of transport that pose a challenge, reorganize your home. Paint a decorative painting for your home (you don’t have to be a Picasso, just let yourself go) or change your radio station and expose yourself to new musical styles.
Exercising both hemispheres at the same time
There is another possibility of exercising the hemispheres in one go. A very clear example is that of painting mandalas. With this activity, on the one hand, you exercise the right hemisphere through patterns and the left through the combination of colors and artistic sensitivity. Other activities may be: performing cross-gait activities (touching your right hand to your left knee), drawing with your non-dominant hand (if you are right-handed with your left and vice versa), or performing everyday activities with your non-dominant hand (such as brushing your teeth. or tie your shoes).