Some of the challenging conditions that can affect our older loved ones are Alzheimer's and dementia, and many of us have witnessed someone who is experiencing memory loss fight to maintain their cognitive abilities. There are various steps we may take as individuals to enhance our own, or a family member's, cognitive skills in the elderly, even if there is no definite way to avoid Alzheimer's or dementia.
Engage Your Parents in Day to Day Activities
Regular physical activity and a vibrant social life have been shown to lower the incidence of Alzheimer's and dementia, but other pursuits like puzzles, games that require problem-solving, and new experiences can also help preserve these vital abilities. Maintaining mental acuity throughout life requires constant brain stimulation; when it comes to enhancing cognitive abilities in older people, committing to a regimen of ongoing stimulation can produce notable outcomes. Researchers at Duke University in Durham, North Carolina, and Columbia University in New York City discovered recently that older participants, who were trained to complete computerized crossword puzzles, demonstrated greater cognitive improvement than those who were trained to play web-based cognitive video games. Participants were on average 71 years old. reports Money Talks News’ recent article entitled, “Crossword Puzzles or Video Games: Which Better Protects Your Brain?”
Increased cognitive development
In a summary of the study’s findings, Dr. D.P. Devanand, professor of psychiatry and neurology at Columbia, remarked:
“This is the first study to document both short-term and longer-term benefits for home-based crossword puzzles training compared to another intervention. The results are important in light of the difficulty in showing improvement with interventions in mild cognitive impairment.”
The researchers explain that mild cognitive impairment is a stage between the cognitive decline that is normal with aging and full-blown dementia. Those with mild cognitive impairment may struggle with memory, language, thinking or judgment.
The researchers went on to note that those with mild cognitive impairment are at significant risk for dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease.
As part of the study, 107 participants with mild cognitive impairment were trained for 12 weeks in either crossword puzzles or cognitive games.
Follow-up “booster sessions” were then held for up to 78 weeks.
While both forms of training were equally effective early in the course of the disease, crossword puzzles were better in the later stages. Those who used crossword puzzles showed less brain shrinkage at 78 weeks.
Dr. Devanand says the study results show that further research on developing a home-based digital therapeutic for delaying Alzheimer’s disease “should be a priority for the field.”
Researchers say that moderate cognitive impairment is a stage between the cognitive deterioration that is typical with aging and full-blown dementia. Participants in the study were taught to perform computerized crossword puzzles. Mild cognitive impairment can cause problems with judgment, reasoning, language, and memory.
The researchers continued by pointing out that those who have mild cognitive impairment are at a high risk of developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer's disease.
107 participants with mild cognitive impairment were trained for a total of 12 weeks in either crossword puzzles or cognitive games as part of the study.
Then, "booster sessions" with a follow-up were held for up to 78 weeks.
Crossword problems were more beneficial as the condition progressed, even though both training methods were equally successful in the early stages. Crossword puzzle users experienced less brain atrophy after 78 weeks.
The findings of the study, according to Dr. Devanand, indicate that the field should give priority to more research into creating a home-based digital treatment for postponing Alzheimer's disease.
increased cognitive development
Reference: Money Talks News (Nov. 5, 2022) “Crossword Puzzles or Video Games: Which Better Protects Your Brain?”
Plan Ahead for your Parents' Care.
Planning ahead for an elderly parent with dementia and memory loss can seem like a daunting task. While it may feel overwhelming, planning ahead is one of the best things you can do to provide support and ensure your parent’s well-being. Start by gathering as much information as possible about their condition. Educate yourself on dementia-related topics such as the different types of dementia, how to manage symptoms and behaviors, legal considerations, and financial planning. Speak with medical professionals or counselors who specialize in this area to get an understanding of what challenges you may face in the future.
Next, create a plan for managing your parent’s care that takes into account their specific needs and wishes. Consider elements such as housing and care facilities, personal care routines, medical treatments, and medications. Think about how you can best support your parent as their condition progresses, both physically and emotionally.
Get Documents in Order.
It’s important to also plan for the future financially. Consider setting up a trust or other financial planning vehicles to ensure that money is set aside for long-term care expenses if needed. Get a power of attorney and health care proxy in place. This will help you make sure that your parent’s finances are secure when they are no longer able to manage them on their own.
Finally, don’t forget to take time for yourself as well. Planning for an elderly parent with dementia can be mentally and emotionally draining, so make sure to build in time for yourself. Take advantage of online support groups and other resources to help you manage the stress of planning and caring for your parent.
By planning ahead, you’re not only taking a step towards ensuring that your parent gets the best possible care, but you are also doing something for yourself—giving yourself peace of mind as you navigate this difficult situation planning ahead for an elderly parent with dementia and memory loss, you can ensure they get the best possible care while giving yourself peace of mind as you navigate this difficult situation. Start by gathering information about their condition, creating a plan that takes into account their specific needs and wishes, planning for the future financially, and taking time to care for yourself. With patience and understanding, you can give your parent the support they need during this difficult time. We are happy to help you start the process. Give us a call or book an appointment with us.