Cognitive Health Tips for Older Adults

Essential Steps for Lifelong Health

Staying mentally engaged is an important aspect of health and well-being for older adults, yet many seniors fall into lifelong habits and stay within their comfort zones. To promote brain health and reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, here are a few worthy activities to help you engage your brain for lifelong cognitive health and well-being.

Image via Pixabay by 4clients

Image via Pixabay by 4clients

Make Time for Activities You Enjoy

Pursuing worthwhile hobbies and interests is one of the best ways to keep your mind engaged and promote cognitive health, but many seniors find that even in retirement, the days are shorter than they’d like. If you’re spending all your time keeping up with housework, hire someone to clean your home to free up your time to pursue challenging and enjoyable activities instead.

Hire a local teenager to mow your lawn or a local independent contractor to shop for groceries or run errands. There’s no reason to spend all your time on these mundane tasks if it means you have no time left to enjoy your life.

Engage in Lifelong Learning

WorldHealth.net reports on research conducted by The Mayo Clinic, which found that “regardless of education and work history, people who engaged in challenging mental activities at least three times per week delayed the onset of cognitive decline by more than three years compared to those who did less.”

In other words, participating in mentally challenging activities helps to preserve brain health and cognitive skills, enabling you to stay mentally sharp as you age. If there’s a topic you’ve always been interested in but never had time to learn about, sign up for an online course or in-person workshop.

Find a New Hobby

Cognitive engagement doesn’t have to mean heading back to the college campus; there are hundreds of activities that provide mental stimulation, ranging from knitting to board games, gardening, golfing, volunteering, reading, and much more.

Find something that makes you feel good about yourself, provides a sense of purpose, or entertains you. You’re not limited to formal education or brain exercises; you can pursue anything that requires learning something new.

Increase Socialization

Socialization offers a multitude of cognitive and emotional benefits, from reducing isolation and lowering the risk of depression and addiction to improving brain health. Consider joining a local senior center or seeking out other older adults in your community who share similar interests and plan regular activities or get-togethers.

Join a bowling league, find a golfing buddy, or join a book club or even a quilting or knitting club. You might be surprised to find out how many other people in your local community share similar interests.

Get Adequate Sleep

Sleep is essential for your body and mind, allowing time for rest and rejuvenation. Without enough sleep, you’ll experience fatigue, brain fog, increased stress, and other symptoms.

If you struggle with insomnia, create consistent routines that can help you wind down and give your mind time to relax and prepare for sleep. It’s also a good idea to talk to your doctor if you continue to have difficulty falling asleep. There are several natural remedies and supplements that may help you get better sleep, as well as medications that can help when other methods fail.

Prioritizing your health and well-being is important throughout life, but as you grow older, paying attention to the needs of your body and mind is even more critical for lifelong health and well-being. Keeping cognitive health top-of-mind and intentionally pursuing activities that promote brain health will reduce your risk of cognitive decline, making it possible to maintain memory, mental clarity, and better overall health throughout life.

Submitted by Jason Lewis, Strongwell.org

Boothbay Region Social Engagement Committee Formed

On January 27th, ten local seniors initiated a group devoted to planning and organizing monthly outings for Boothbay area residents who are in the early stages of memory loss. Under the able guidance of Mark Pechenik, Outreach Director for the Maine Chapter of the Alzheimer’s Association, the group of volunteers began planning events for this Spring. The goal is to enable a small group (4 to 8) local seniors and their family caregivers to join together for interesting and educational outings at least once a month. The assembled group had a lot of fun brainstorming interesting local outings–from the Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens, to the Boothbay Railway Museum, Maine Maritime Museum, Miniature Golf, Boothbay Region Land Trust walk, and so on.

The Boothbay Region Social Engagement Committee will meet once a month, on the fourth Friday of each month from 2 to 3 pm at the Community Center. Those interested in joining us as volunteers or as participants are welcome to join us. If you have ideas for local activities that would be a lot of fun for active seniors with mild memory issues, please contact the Coordinator, Patty Seybold at 633-4368 or pseybold@customers.com. This committee is co-sponsored by the People Helping People program of the Boothbay Region Health & Wellness Foundation and the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter. Our next planning meeting will be held on Friday, February 24th at 2 pm at the Community Center in the Meadow Mall in Boothbay Harbor. We expect our first outing to take place in early April.

Volunteers Wanted for Alzheimer’s Social Activity Group

On Friday, January 27, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm, at the Community Center learn how you can help local people with memory problems engage in social activities. Want to make a real, positive difference in the lives of neighbors and friends living with Alzheimer’s disease or a related dementia? Then consider joining the new Boothbay Area Social Engagement Committee. This committee of volunteers will plan and present one to two social activities for local persons diagnosed with dementia and their care partners in partnership with the Alzheimer’s Association, Maine Chapter and the Boothbay Region Health and Wellness Foundation.

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers Therapeutic Horticulture Visits

Coastal Maine Botanical Gardens offers Therapeutic Horticulture Visits

You’ll make it possible for participants to enjoy guided nature walks, trips to the theater, museum tours and other meaningful social activities.

Learn more by attending the Boothbay Area Social Engagement Committee Training on Friday, January 27, from 2:00 to 3:00 pm, at the Boothbay Region Community Center, located at 185 Townsend Avenue in Boothbay Harbor.

To register, please contact Patricia Seybold of the Boothbay Region Health and Wellness Foundation at: pseybold@customers.com or 207-633-4368.

 

Give Thanks! Support a Local Senior in Need

#Giving Tuesday is November 29th. Time to stop shopping and start giving back! This holiday season, give forward with your time and/or your treasure to help a local senior citizen or disabled person participate more fully in community life.

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The Boothbay Region Health & Wellness Foundation belongs to the #Boothbay Treasures Collaborative of Non Profits on the Boothbay peninsula. #Giving Tuesday is November 29th–a day dedicated to remember to donate your time and treasure to your favorite non-profits.

As a volunteer to our People Helping People program you can enrich someone’s life (and your own) by providing one needed outing or service per week. Or, as a donor to our People Helping People program you can help defray the expenses required to provide support for local seniors who live on their own and/or don’t drive.

Volunteer Opportunities:

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  • Scheduled Driving/Errands. Many of our seniors need regularly scheduled weekly rides/outings to the YMCA, to the grocery store, to activities or meetings they’d like to attend at the Community Center or other places on the peninsula.
  • Rides to Doctors or Dentists’ Appointments: Although we also rely on FISH, some of our seniors still need rides to dental or doctors’ appointments or physical therapy. These are scheduled in advance so you can plan your own errands around them. When you take someone to a doctor’s appointment, you can optionally offer to attend the visit and take notes for the patient and his/her family, so that nothing gets lost. That’s such a valuable service for someone on their own.
  • Visits/Companionship. Nobody likes to eat alone or to be alone all day. Many of our seniors enjoy a weekly visit during which they share fascinating stories of their childhood and their adventures. It’s wonderful to watch someone’s face brighten up as they tell their stories. Some seniors live with family members who can’t leave them alone and need a weekly break to get out of the house and run their own errands, or just go for a walk! You can make a big difference by spending an hour or two to provide companionship for a shut in.
  • Lunch Outings. Many of our members love to have a weekly lunch out. Imagine what it’s like to be at home all day alone! A weekly outing is something to look forward to.
  • Computer and Technical Help. Some of our seniors have computers at home they can’t easily carry to the Community Center for help by the Deck House students who provide one-on-one free computer support on Wednesday mornings. Or, they have difficulties with their TV/cable set ups. If you’re technically competent, offer to lend a hand. We’ll call you on an as needed basis.
  • Laundry Help. Many of our members live in apartments with shared laundry facilities and are two weak to lug their laundry to and from the washer/dryer. A weekly laundry visit can make a big difference in someone’s life.
  • Food Pantry Visits. Some of our members take advantage of monthly visits to the Food Pantry at the Congregational Church. They need rides to and from the Food Pantry and help carrying their groceries into their homes.sos-volunteers-grocery2010
  • Shopping Trips. Everyone needs to get out to run errands occasionally. Many of our members like to go to particular stores in Wiscasset (Ames) or Damariscotta (Rising Tide, Renys, etc.) If these are places you go to occasionally, why not take a new-found friend?
  • Grocery Shopping. A few folks don’t have the stamina to do their own grocery shopping, even in the electric carts that Hannaford provides. So, you can pick up their list and debit card and combine shopping for someone in need with your own shopping. You’ll make a huge difference in someone’s life!
  • Yard Work. Raking leaves, weeding a garden–seasonal tasks in the yard are a burden for someone who is no longer mobile enough or strong enough to take care of these chores. If you enjoy spending an hour or two in the fresh air, consider volunteering for outdoor work.
  • Household Repairs. Handy with a hammer? Not afraid to fix a leaky faucet? So many of our seniors have small odd jobs that need doing but they can’t afford (or the job isn’t big enough for) a professional.
  • Organizing Things. Helping an overwhelmed senior deal with clutter can be a blessing. Unpacking boxes. Sorting through clothing. Downsizing. Many folks need help organizing their paperwork into manageable piles, putting things into folders for family members to deal with. Rearranging closets or attics. It’s satisfying and much easier to do with and for someone else than for yourself!

If you are willing and able to do any of these activities, ideally on a regularly scheduled basis, weekly or monthly, please contact our coordinator, Rachel Tibbetts at 207-841-7748, or email her at rachtibbets@myfairpoint.net.

How Your Donation Will be Used

boothbay-treasuresIf you want to support this incredibly valuable program but don’t want to commit your time, consider a donation. $50 will pay for a month of coordinated services for a low income resident. Our paid coordinator not only matches all the volunteer-provided services to the needs of our members, but also provides a lot of services herself when a volunteer isn’t available.

To donate, go to http://boothbaywellness.org/donations/and check off People Helping People program. Or mail your check made out to BRH&WF, with PHP or People Helping People in the Memo field to:

The Boothbay Wellness Foundation
PO Box 335
Boothbay Harbor, ME 04538

Chinese Lanterns $5 to Benefit People Helping People program

The People Helping People Senior Support Network needs your support. Members’ fees don’t cover the costs of providing a coordinator to ensure that members’ and volunteers’ needs are met. So we rely on donations and contributions. This month we are featuring dried Chinese Lantern plants for your fall bouquets at a suggested donation price of $5. At the Community Center. Select a bunch, or sign up for one of the next batch.chinese-lanterns