5 Great Ideas to Help Our Elders Stay Sharp

May 26, 2009 at 6:35 pm 1 comment

Is Dad getting a little forgetful?

Is Mom’s memory a bit rusty?

It happens with age. In fact, memory issues start in our 50’s, but it doesn’t mean your loved one necessarily has dementia or Alzheimer’s. What it does mean is that caregivers are wise to pay attention and track any changes. Even if your loved one has started  to forget a few things, you can help.

5 Ideas to Help Our Elder Parents Stay Sharp:

  • When you’re riding in the car together–running errands or going to doctor appointments–use the time to sing together. Remembering the old songs of your childhood (lullabies, camp songs) and even songs of their youth (dating years) is a great way to share a memory. Songs are a great way to remember something, so even sing old commercial jingles or kid’s songs. Act like you’ve forgotten a line and see if they pick it up.
  • Ask for help. Whether it’s cooking homemade biscuits in the kitchen with mom or changing the oil in the lawnmower with dad, include them. Let them be a bit bossy and tell you what to do. We all need to be needed. Follow their directions and say thank you for their help.
  • Get them to help you make a list. The next time you need to go to the grocery store or to the hardware store, ask them to help you make the list. Even if they can’t write, they can look in the frig and see if you need eggs. Let your mom or dad help plan the menu for Thanksgiving or for an upcoming family birthday party. Let them have some choices about what will be served, what music will be played. We feel most engaged when our opinion matters.
  • If you haven’t started scrapbooking, now is the time. Maybe it’s not your number one hobby, but placing some photos in albums together is a great way to pass an afternoon. Ask questions about who’s-who. Gossip a little (you know you always wanted to know the truth about crazy Uncle George). Let them go on and on about a story that doesn’t really have an ending. The point is to get them thinking, remembering, and feeling that what they have to say, to give is important.
  • Play a game. What about checkers–or tic-tac-toe? While the rice is cooking or you’re waiting on the doctor to call you back, get out a deck of cards and play a game of Spades. Don’t be a stickler about the rules, but use this time to let them practice counting or utilizing strategy techniques without it seeming artificial.

Once I learned to relax around my mom, I found that she was good company. Helping our elders stay sharp doesn’t need to be hard or feel like a test.

It felt like two people hanging out together.

Entry filed under: brain fitness, caring for parents, elder care, family caregiving. Tags: , , , .

What Does Dad Want? Father’s Day Tips For Siblings Does My Parent Have Dementia or Alzheimer’s: What’s the Difference?

1 Comment Add your own

  • 1. Ruth Ferris  |  June 27, 2009 at 7:08 am

    Your suggestions are thoughtful and very relevant. I am sure many people have been comforted by your knowledge.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Trackback this post  |  Subscribe to the comments via RSS Feed

This Blog

Hi, I'm Carol O'Dell. This blog will include stories and lessons I've learned while caring for my mom, and now as I speak to caregivers around the country. I hope to offer suggestions, ideas and insights that will help others.

While this blog is supported by Dakim Brain Fitness, I’m not blogging to promote the Dakim company or products. Instead, I’m writing about how caring and being cared for affects your life and your family. My hope is that this blog gives you a place to learn, reflect, gain new perspective to make it another day.

Brain Fitness Twitter

  • Medical experts have devised an online symptom checker. I though most said not to do this… How times change. ow.ly/C4N9R 4 years ago
  • A person's wellbeing is linked to how many fruit and vegetables they eat. ow.ly/C4MyD 4 years ago
  • Turmeric, found in most curries, may hold the key to repairing the brains of people with neurodegenerative disorders. ow.ly/C4FNE 4 years ago
  • 1,200 calorie snack is so fattening it reduces the supply of blood to the brain! Talk about carbo-crash! ow.ly/C4Frh 4 years ago
  • Complaints about your memory could be an early indicator of diminishing cognitive function. ow.ly/BVxnu 4 years ago

%d bloggers like this: