Great News for Bookworms Young and Old About Dementia: Games and Gift Ideas
Life takes its toll on the mind, pushing it into decline once a certain age hits, a scary thought for baby boomers today other than the bookworms. That's right. If you have been reading all your mind, doing Sudoku puzzles, crosswords, playing memory games or generally keeping your brain in a constant workout, you have officially managed to push the risk of dementia away from you, at least for a couple of years, according to a study published in Neurology.
It might seem like those bookworms in your class are not enjoying life, not seeing the world around them, and simply are non-communicative. In truth, they are their brains through a brain gym, in constant activity, ensuring their minds are better equipped for old age. Continuing on this path well into the golden years only serves to protect against dementia and general cognitive decline. Diseases of the mind are less likely to attack those who have spent a lifetime with their noses in a book.
Now, many might be thinking that watching television or exercising the body might have the same affect. Incorrect. Where the latter is definitely important, the former has no positive effect other than bombarding the senses with data that is then simply stored in the mind, without any form of problem solving activities taking place or urging the imagination to play its part in visualizing the text's content.
Even if their brains displayed plaques, tangles, and lesions normally found in the brains of those suffering from the cognitive disease, people who exercised their brains did not exhibit behaviors of Alzheimer's. Those who read, wrote, solved puzzles and played board games showed a significantly lower rate of cognitive problems.
What happens if I am not a big reader? Here we have both good and bad news to give. On the bright side, if you begin putting your mind through cognitive acrobatics from this moment on, you will be able to lower its deficits by 32%. On the other hand, if you had not begun from childhood, you are already heading towards decline 48% faster than those who have. Probably a good idea to begin from now!
Put a focus on language acquisition, math skills, problem solving, conversions. Cooking new recipes are a great way to read, learn new words, measure things correctly and keep exercising the brain. Chess, checkers, Monopoly, Hanoi towers, Who wants to be a Millionaire, and all sorts of board games that require thinking, counting, answering questions and playing against the clock come in handy. Charades, pictionary and other games which require identification, including the Four Pictures/One Word smartphone and tablet application come in handy.
Whatever you do, ensure your brain gets enough exercise on a daily basis in order to effectively prevent dementia in old age.
What other game and gift ideas would you suggest?