Improving Cognitive Skills in Senior Citizens

Apr 13th, 2011 | By Sharon Shaw Elrod MSW EdD | Category: Lifestyle, Health & Fitness

The New England Journal of Medicine published a report of a study that suggested staying mentally active as we age may be a key factor in preserving memory and other cognitive activity.  “Staying mentally active” means engaging in activities that challenge and stimulate the mind.

The study included 469 people over 75 years of age.  All of them were healthy individuals.  The results suggested that those who engaged frequently in reading, playing board games, playing a musical instrument and dancing were less likely to have dementia five or more years later.

In addition, a study published in the Journal of the American Geriatrics Society suggested that seniors without cognitive issues can sharpen their memory and mental skills by using a computer-based cognitive training program.  These participants were 65 and older, had no cognitive problems that had been identified, and numbered 487.  They spent specified amounts of time on the computer training program and then completed quizzes.

“The study found that results on an auditory memory/attention test were
more than twice as high among people who trained on the Brain Fitness
Program than among those who watched the DVDs. Participants who
trained with the Brain Fitness Program also scored higher than the DVD
watchers on a variety of other cognitive tests.” Johns Hopkins Health Alert

A word of caution, however… seniors who sit too long can develop mobility issues, increased muscular-skeletal pain and frustration.  Moderation is probably a good idea.



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