What is Brain Training?
Experiencing poor learning, reading, memory, and attention are correlated with weak cognitive skills. Brain training is a way of strengthening these skills using fun mental workout sessions to target and strengthen neural connections in the brain. This helps the processing of incoming information to be more efficient.
These cognitive skills are most commonly affected in Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. This involves a deterioration in memory, thinking and the ability to perform everyday activities. Much research has found that brain training can reduce risk of dementia in healthy older adults by up to 29%. Particularly training called “speed-of-processing” is designed to improve the speed and accuracy of a person’s visual attention. Importantly, this should be regarded as ‘protective’ against cognitive decline, not as something that will stop dementia.
Cognitive Stimulation in Care Homes
Cognitive stimulation is the name given to techniques and strategies that seek to optimise the effectiveness of brain functioning. Here are some examples of techniques that we incorporate in our nursing home at varying times with the people we support.
- Switching hands
If you are right-handed, try using your left hand to do things like brushing your teeth and eating. Using your non-dominant hand results in increased brain activity.
- Read books aloud
Take turns reading and listening to a book with people. This engages the brain and imagination in a different way with up to three brain regions activating when the same word was read, spoken, or heard.
- Learning something new
Once a skill is mastered the mental benefit of learning stops. Going beyond your comfort zone by learning something else or increasing your level of difficulty re-engages your brain again.
- Diverse social connections
Any time you connect with others, you expose yourself to new ideas and other ways of thinking. This opens you up to new perspectives and ideas which will stimulate your mental growth.
- Physical exercise
This provides brain benefits via a variety of mechanisms. Exercise turns on the gene that stimulates new brain cell formation. It improves circulation to the brain to deliver more oxygen and nutrients, and remove metabolic waste more efficiently.
Here are some excellent resources for brain training aimed at those with dementia:
- Games for People With Alzheimer’s
- Alzheimer’s Society: Have a go at brain training
- Games for Alzheimer’s & Dementia
- Five Games to Stimulate a Person with Dementia’s Brain
Contacting Stanfield Nursing Home
If you are interested in learning more about our daily activities and brain training at our CQC-rated ‘Outstanding’ care home then head to our website today or visit our previous blog update. Alternatively, you can call 01905 420 459 to speak to a member of our helpful and friendly team.