There are tons of research claiming that activities such as problem-solving,intellectually stimulating games like Sudoku or crosswords help to keep your brain sharp and improve your cognitive ability. However, a recent study conducted by Dr Roger Staff, Head of Medical Physics at Aberdeen Royal Infirmary, suggests that such intellectual engagements do not avert the cognitive decline in old age. He carried out the research to understand the relationship between age-related intellectual engagement and cognitive decline. For the study, 500 participants were followed, all born in 1936. All the participants at the start of the study were 64 years old and were tested over a period of 15 years for their reading level, memory, mental processing speed, and were questioned on a regular basis about their intellectual engagement – like, their interest in reading, their level of curiosity, their participation in problem-solving. A tab on their educational levels was also kept. After a complete data analysis, the research team concluded that while high levels of such activity lead to a considerable increase in the cognitive ability, it did not relate to any age-related cognitive decline.
As we all know, age affects certain cognitive abilities in older adults. A certain number of areas do exhibit normal levels of decline like information processing, retrieval, difficulty to maintain divided attention (to be able to focus on two things at a time) and storing new memories, a decline in fluid intelligence (intelligence not based on education or experience). Despite these gradual cognitive changes that come with age, there are ways to boost the brain power of older adults.
Pick up a new hobby: Watercolor Mood Art
Learning any new hobby like watercolour mood art can work wonders while it comes keeping the brain of an older adult alert. The act of painting abstract images based on one’s mood is known as Watercolor Mood Art. This activity can enhance hand-eye coordination and motor skills while stimulating the elderly people to reflect on their emotions.
Stay close to nature
This could be of great help for older adults. Various studies in the field of cognitive science suggest that exposure to natural surroundings improve attention span and memory. Spending time in the lap of nature also reduces stress which goes a long way in enhancing of cognitive faculties.
Boost brain power with food
A diet rich in antioxidants is known to improve cerebral functions, especially in older adults. A study sponsored by the US Food and Drug Administration found that loading up on green leafy vegetables slows down cognitive decline in 65 plus older adults. Having a handful of walnuts, having a handful of nuts and foods cooked in olive oil may also help.