How many of us know what we can do to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s disease?
When I ask groups of seniors that question, some of the more common answers include games such as crossword puzzles, chess, or sudoku.
Each one of these answers is right but also wrong, because simply playing games falls short of what we can do to reduce our risk of dementia.
Playing games like chess can stimulate our minds, increase our social interactions with others and possibly reduce stress, but when it comes to reducing our risk of Alzheimer’s, the type, variety and frequency of the games we play is key.
We all know that games can be fun and challenging, but if we are interested in actually maintaining brain fitness, then games and activities that stimulate all six cognitive areas of the brain at the same time are the most beneficial.
Those six cognitive areas:
Short-term memory, used when we remember information shortly after it’s been understood. The child’s game Memory, where cards are face down and the goal of the game is to uncover pairs, is a great example.
Long-term memory, used when we recall something from the vast store of information that’s in our brain. Trivial Pursuit is an example of a game that relies on long-term memory.
Language, the use and form of words. The TV show “Password” exercised each contestant’s language skills.
Calculation has two definitions. First, calculation is the use of numbers. Playing sudoku gets us to calculate numbers. The other form of calculation involves assessing the risks, possibilities or effects of a course of action. Playing chess is another way to exercise calculation skills.
Visuospacial, referring to our visual perception of objects. Jigsaw puzzles are an excellent example of a game that uses this skill.
Critical thinking, our ability to analyze and evaluate situations. The game of Risk challenges us to use our critical-thinking skills.
The emergence of brain fitness as a tool to reduce our risk of Alzheimer’s is based on using new ways to exercise all six cognitive areas of the brain in one session and continuing the program over a period of time.
A number of area adult senior centers will offer a series of four-week brain fitness programs beginning in the spring.
The program encompasses brain games, exercises, learning and laughter, in part utilizing Dakim Brain Fitness, a clinically tested brain fitness program for active adults over 60.
The ongoing series will be offered as separate programs at the following centers: the Goebel Senior Adult Center, (805) 381-2744; the Simi Valley Senior Center, (805) 583-6363; the Agoura Hills Senior Recreation Program, (818) 597-7366; and the Agoura Hills/ Calabasas Community Center, (818) 880-2993. Contact the centers for dates and times.
In addition, Senior Concerns has teamed with Dakim Brain Fitness to bring individuals the most advanced system to fight the effects of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
Senior Concerns will offer 20-minute Dakim sessions intended to provide a rigorous workout of all cognitive processes using fun games and activities based on science and grounded in fun.
No computer skills are necessary.
To book a time convenient for you, call Dana at Senior Concerns, (805) 497-0189.