I'm an avid fan of brain improvement programs. I originally sought brain development resources to rescue my own flagging mental fitness. As a caregiver for my elderly grandfather and a homeschooling mother of two young children, I had a tendency to run myself ragged. Continually focusing on other people's needs and running chronically short on sleep, I began to worry about my own mental capacity. The last straw was when I started reaching for words that just weren't "there" anymore. How could I be an effective caregiver if I couldn't think clearly?
I began researching ways to salvage my brain, and encountered the heartening article, Mental Exercise Helps Maintain Seniors’ Thinking Skills, from the National Institutes of Health. The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) study, funded by the NIH, positively demonstrated that adults between the ages of 65 and 94 can improve their cognitive abilities with proper training. Even better, the specialized training in memory, reasoning and processing speed required only about 10 hours, and the participants maintained many of their improvements several years later!
Other articles such as Elderly Turn to Videogames to Stay Mentally Fit opened my eyes to the possibility of brain "gyms" that could assist me in efficiently re-growing neural connections in short periods of time. If octogenarians were using video games to keep their minds fit, something similar ought to work for caregivers like me!
My search for ways to reclaim my brain let me straight to Lumosity.com. Designed by top neuroscientists, The Lumosity brain training program encourages the neuroplasticity needed for a healthy brain. It met my criteria for affordability at just $9.95 a month, and I was delighted to discover that I could run through a full brain workout in just 10 minutes! And it absolutely works. I can measure and track my enhanced mental fitness as I progress through the program, but the best proof is my ability to think more clearly, with a greater sense of alertness and happier mood.
Now Lumosity is my favorite brain fitness "secret!" I recommend it to all my caregiver friends for their own use, as well as for their elderly loved ones. My grandfather had advanced dementia, and was unable to work with Lumosity. However, elderly people with less severe cognitive decline can realize substantial benefits in speed, memory, attention, flexibility and problem solving.
What is your favorite way to improve mental fitness? Please share with our caregiver