Below is a guest post by freelance writer Kathleen Hessing. The information and advice is the sort of thing we’re committed to here on Out of Bounds – keeping your brain sharp, strengthening your mind, preventing memory loss, and preventing Alzheimer’s Disease. The information is truly priceless.
Although the disease is incurable once it occurs, there are steps we can take to help prevent the development of Alzheimer’s. Keeping your brain alert has been proved to do just that.
Even if you have the busiest of schedules, you can work small things into your day to help you stay sharp. One way to do this is to use your non-dominant hand for everyday tasks like eating and opening doors. By doing this, you exercise the opposite side of your brain.
Mind-engaging puzzles like Sudoku and crosswords can increase brain activity as well. Several websites offer games and puzzles to entertain and challenge you. Here are a few to get you started:
- WebSudoku.com – This website claims to offer billions of Sudoku puzzles. That should keep you busy for quite a while!
- BoatloadPuzzles.com – When they say boatload, they aren’t kidding. You’ll find 40,000 free crossword puzzles on this site.
- JigZone.com – Like jigsaw puzzles, but don’t have the space to lay them out and solve them? This site allows you to put together jigsaw puzzles made up of 6 to 247 pieces. You can play against a clock for more of a challenge, too.
Many local newspapers and magazines publish all kinds of puzzles, from Sudoku and crosswords, to word finds, acrostics, and Kakuro, which is similar to Sudoku, but involves math rather than just number placement.
Reading exercises your brain, too. Do it often. Experts say you should frequently switch up the topics you read so you’ll experience changes in vocabulary, thereby stimulating more areas of your brain.
Video games can actually benefit your brain in a big way, too. Instead of zoning out to TV shows or movies for hours on end, try playing a game. It can help improve your memory, your development of logic skills, increase your creativity, increase your mental speed, and improve your hand-eye coordination.
There are plenty of free gaming websites out there. For starters, try these:
- Bored.com – This site boasts tons of games in categories such as puzzles, strategy, action, and arcade.
- AddictingGames.com – You can either play games on your own, or get a friend to play a two-player game with you on the same computer. There are also games to play with friends via Facebook.
- PlayedOnline.com – Play classics such as Super Mario World and Pac-Man, as well as many new games.
- Pogo.com – Pogo has some of the most popular online games like Bejeweled, as well as classics such as Scrabble, Yahtzee, Risk, and Monopoly.
- FreeOnlineGames.com – Not only can you play games on this site, you can get free games to install on your own website.
If you want to step up the quality of your games and interaction, consider spending some money on a video game console for your home. You can even play games on your cell phone if it has such capabilities.
Another brain-building activity you can try is learning a foreign language. You don’t have to spend any money on this—everything you need is at your local library. You can check out instructional books, CDs, DVDs, and tapes there. You don’t need to go for total fluency. Just learning some words and phrases is enough to get your brain working.
While all these activities can help keep your brain sharp, and can potentially help prevent Alzheimer’s, they can’t cure it. Once a diagnosis of Alzheimer’s is made, it’s important to learn about the disease to be able to cope with it to the best of your ability.
If you or someone you know has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s, check out the Alzheimer’s Association website for information about the disease and its treatments. Researchers are always looking for ways to improve the lives of those suffering from Alzheimer’s. The site allows you to browse through the various medications that have Food and Drug Administration (FDA) approval so you can talk to your doctor about which one is right for you or your loved one.
Caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease can become a heavy burden over time. It requires a lot of patience, but even then, it can be one of the hardest things to do in life. Taking care of a loved one with Alzheimer’s is an admirable endeavor, but it can become more difficult as time and the disease progress. If you ever find yourself unable to continue as a caretaker, consider looking into an elderly care facility that specializes in Alzheimer’s care. It’s a difficult decision to make, but you’ll feel better knowing your loved one is receiving the best care available.
Kathleen Hessing is a freelance writer who enjoys finding new ways to improve her life, and sharing them with others through her writing.