3 Fun Activities That May Aid Our Brains

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Hi everyone! For those of you who read this blog regularly, you know I’ve written a series of posts about taking care of the older members of our families, while honoring their beauty and dignity. I love this part of our culture. As Latinas, it’s hard to express just how important our padres, abuelos, tíos and tías are to us. In fact, I hope you will be sure to check out the link to the stages series at the end of this post. The series features some of the amazing people over the age of 100 in America today.

graphic with a brain divided in two, one side says create, the other says logic

In collaboration with SCAN Health Plan, one of the nation’s largest not-for-profit Medicare Advantage plans, serving more than 200,000 members in California. #GatherAndShareWithSCAN

As parents and caregivers to the older members of our families, we can have a big impact on the health of those under our care. Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month ends this week, but we can continue to prioritize our own brain health, as well as the brain health of our family members, all year long. The best part of all is we can have a lot of fun doing it, together. 

What Do We Mean by Brain Health

But first, what are we talking about exactly? According to the National Institutes of Health (NIH), brain health refers to “the ability to remember, learn, plan, concentrate and maintain a clear, active mind. It’s being able to draw on the strengths of your brain—information management, logic, judgment, perspective, and wisdom. Simply, brain health is all about making the most of your brain and helping reduce some risks to it as you age.” 

Why Brain Health is Important

Maintaining our brain health is important because the brain is always changing. According to the NIH, this process of change is called “brain plasticity.” When we have new experiences, learn new things and practice new habits, our brains make new connections and repair broken ones. Maintaining the brain’s health supports this process.

3 Fun Tips That May Aid Our Brains

So now that we know the “what” and “why” of brain health, here are some fun activities that may just help with the “how”. Enjoy!

1. Family Game Night

Senior citizens playing dominoes

It’s science! We’ve suspected this all along, haven’t we? But now, according to the NIH, “studies have shown that people who have contact with their loved ones as well as participate in social activities may have a reduced risk of cognitive decline.”

So get together with the ones you love and play games. It’s great for all ages and fun for the whole family. My brothers, cousins, and uncles love playing dominoes and my boys enjoy playing board games like Monopoly, Mastermind or Cards.

2. Take a Walk Together Most Every Day

grandmother with two kids in a garden

Physical activity for 30 minutes most days may help reduce some risks to your brain, according to the NIH. So why not round up the kids, grandparents, and whoever else would like to go and take a stroll? In addition to the benefits of physical activity, the benefits of social contact and participating in an activity together may make a family stroll the perfect choice for your family. 

Your daily walk doesn’t have to feel like climbing Mount Everest. To include everyone in your family, make sure the pace is comfortable for everyone and there are plenty of chances to stop and smell the roses. 

3. Pick up a New Hobby

Learning new things causes our brains to make new connections—not just figuratively, but physically. Brain cells actually build new connections to each other when we learn new things. That new hobby can be almost anything: learning to play chess, to dance, to speak Italian, to swim, or craft. Doing it together just makes it more fun and incorporates some of those same social benefits from family game night.

senior citizens playing chess in a wooden table outdoors

100+ Stories from 100 Years of Living

Black and white picture of a male senior citizen

While you’re engaging in the fun activities that help your brain, here’s that link I mentioned to the digital docu-series called stages, a project that spotlights some of the 80,000 fascinating people who are 100+ years old living in America today. These vignettes feature the beauty and dignity of aging. They are just a joy to read and watch.

Don’t forget to join the conversation at #SCANstages, #SCAN100over100 and #GatherAndShareWithSCAN hashtags on social media.

SCAN health plan logo

Thanks to the great folks at SCAN Health Plan for making this post possible. Since its founding in 1977, SCAN has been a mission-driven organization dedicated to keeping seniors healthy and independent. That’s a great thing.

Enjoy!

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EDWARD
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EDWARD

I have to agree with this. Well, activities that would lead people to think like reading would enhance thinking. This is what I encourage my patients to do.

Natalie
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Natalie

I love going on walks with my family. It’s harder in the winter though when it’s very cold. I need to plan more game nights!

Tara Pittman
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Tara Pittman

I have always heard that doing crossword puzzles are good for the brain. I am glad that there are other things that also help.

Jordyn
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Jordyn

This is such a fun post! I LOVE having game nights with my family and taking walks so it’s cool to read that these activities are helping to keep my brain active.

Alvern @ Success Unscrambled
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Alvern @ Success Unscrambled

This is such an inspiration. I have a neighbour who is 85 and I visit her every week and she is such a lovely lady and I hope that she lives to 100+ so that she can continue to be a blessing to many more people.

Heather @ US Japan Fam
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Heather @ US Japan Fam

Brain health is something we so often forget about, or simply don’t prioritize perhaps until we realize memory or other functions are starting to fail. These are some great and simple actions to take – thank you!

Steph Social
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Steph Social

Keeping your brain active and healthy is so important as you get older! Games and nature definitely help!

Ceci Rey
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Ceci Rey

You really have me thinking. All 3 tips are great. I should do these activities more often with my children. Thanks for sharing!

laurenofalltrades
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laurenofalltrades

I love going for walks with my husband every night in the summer when it’s nice out. It’s great to take a break from screens and really connect while getting a bit of exercise.

Joanna
Guest
Joanna

Yes, we do need to keep challenging our brain in order to keep it healthy. Is the same as with the rest of our body. I like playing board games and I do love going out for walks.

Jessica Joachim
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Jessica Joachim

I love family game night! It makes it even better that it is actually good for your brain too!

Candace Hampton
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Candace Hampton

Totally agree! I believe that each and everyone of these activities are really helpful for our brains. I love playing family/board games. Specially Memory, I feel like it’s a lot of fun but I’m also exercising my brain lol Thanks for sharing<3

Candace Hampton

Arun Dahiya
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Arun Dahiya

Thank you for the reminder. Solving puzzles and family game nights , doing creative things do boost our cognition.

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