How puzzles, poetry and singing can help keep your brain active
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Two of the biggest issues facing elderly people throughout the UK are rising nursing home costs and dementia - one in six people over 80 have been diagnosed with dementia. As our population continues to age, dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease are not only causing devastation to families but also putting a huge strain on the NHS. Organisations like Age UK and Alzheimers Org are insisting the government makes dementia care a priority and invests more towards finding a cure. Until that happens, there are things we can do to keep our brains as healthy as possible.
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The brain is like our muscles; if we want it to work properly we need to make sure it gets regular exercise. The trouble is, as we get older we don’t always use our brains as much as we did in our youth. Especially when we retire and we can at last enjoy a quieter, more sedate lifestyle, it’s easy to fall into a routine where we’re doing the same things day in day out and no longer flexing our little grey cells. Home care services in Leeds, Wakefield and the local area can help you stay active and independent, both mentally and physically.
As nursing home costs in Wakefield and the rest of the UK have become unmanageable for many older people, it’s more important than ever to try to keep our brains as healthy as possible so we can stay at home. A study published in the Archives of Neurology found that doing regular crossword puzzles can help keep the brain active enough to ward of dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease. In fact, any mentally stimulating activity we do in our younger years and middle age can help our brains stay healthy as we age. This is because of a protein in our brains called beta-amyloid; the main component of sticky plaque that is commonly found in patients of Alzheimer’s Disease. When our brains don’t receive sufficient stimulation this plaque hardens and causes blockages - a bit like fat in a drainpipe.
If you’re struggling to cope with day to day chores or get around as well as you used to, home care services can help you stay healthy and maintain your independence. Contact us today for a quote for home care nursing or domiciliary care in Leeds, York, Wakefield or Huddersfield
Research has already shown that people who eat well, get plenty of exercise, stay within a healthy weight range and regularly socialise are at a lower risk of developing memory problems later in life. This more recent study focused particularly on the subject of problem solving and how it actively prevents the build-up of beta-amyloid.
The study found that older subjects who did puzzles a few times a week had beta-amyloid levels that were on a par with 25 year old subjects, while those who did little to no brain exercises had much higher protein build-up. The scientists behind the research were keen to explain that these brain workouts are hard or expensive to do - simply doing one crossword, writing a letter or playing a board game a day was enough to keep brains of all ages fit and healthy. A good care at home provider will take the time to give you a local Leeds, York, Wakefield or Huddersfield newspaper and maybe play a quick game with you too. Even if you just play one move a day you’ll be keeping your brain active.
Home care assistance can help ensure you get your meals on time and have someone to talk to about what’s going on in the world. Keeping up with current affairs is a good form of brain training, whether it’s watching the national news or keeping up with what’s happening in Leeds, York, Wakefield and Huddersfield.
Residential care homes often have social activities like bingo or group exercise, but a home care agency can also help you get to some in your local area. There are lots of social groups for elderly people in and around York, Wakefield, Leeds and Huddersfield - contact your local parish council for details.
TV and radio personality Gyles Brandreth is on a mission to help older people maintain lively brains, this time using the power of poetry. As an avid poetry fan since childhood, he decided to look into how it benefited the brain. During his research he visited Dame Judy Dench, who relies on her memory to learn lines from plays and films. At age 84 Dame Judy is still able to recite Shakespeare at the drop of a hat, and Giles wondered what it is about poetry that’s so easy to remember. He took this question to Professor Usha Goswami at Cambridge University, who explained that we learn to remember lines from songs and poems at an early age. Nursery rhymes are written in the same rhythm as Shakespeare (Iambic Pentameter) and that rhythm is also very similar to a heartbeat. The familiarity of the pattern helps us remember the words, which in turn helps keep our brains healthy. If you’re not a fan of poetry, singing along to your favourite songs is just as good.
Dementia is a nationwide problem that home care services in York, Leeds, Huddersfield and Wakefield are also well aware of, especially as nursing home costs continue to rise. While it may not prevent Alzheimer’s entirely, keeping your brain active by doing puzzles or reciting lines from poems and songs has been proven to help brains stay healthy for longer.
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