The holiday season is right around the corner. That means people everywhere are putting together gift lists for their friends and loved ones. While it may be easy to figure out what you’re going to get some people, it may take a little extra thought for others. Specifically, when it comes to our elders, it’s a great idea to get them gifts that promote healthy brain aging.
From games to language lessons, there are plenty of thoughtful gift ideas you can buy for the elders in your life that will stimulate their minds. Here are some ideas:
For many elders, reading a book may not be as easy as it used to be. Reading doesn’t only have cognitive benefits for children, but people of all ages. A perfect mix of joy and utility, reading improves attention and concentration levels, which is invaluable for taking care of an aging brain.
If you have an elder in your life who once was an avid reader but has lost the ability to do so, consider getting them an audiobook. Make sure to set up their device beforehand so accessing their gift isn't an issue and doesn't frustrate them. Once they start listening, they'll love the ability to discover new and exciting stories again.
Whether painting by numbers in a coloring book or freestyle, drawing with watercolors is relaxing and helps to develop concentration and a longer attention span.
Painting also sharpens the mind while boosting memory skills. People who use creative outlets such as writing, painting and drawing have less chance of developing memory loss illnesses as they get older. Painting also helps build strong mental health and can help generate a happy mood, not only in the artist but also in those around them.
Foreign language lessons
Learning a new language is a popular resolution at any age. Not only can it help when traveling, but it’s also good for your brain. Many at-home software platforms are available, which is ideal for social distance learning. Studies even find that bilinguals maintain better cognitive function as they age.
Knowing a foreign language can delay Alzheimer's by up to five years, according to some research, and bilingual Alzheimer's patients maintain cognitive function longer. Other studies suggest that learning another language improves focus and the ability to multitask, with fewer age-related memory lapses in future years.
Games and puzzles
There are a lot of gifts that can fall into this category. Whether it's jigsaw puzzles, chess or board games such as Scrabble and Monopoly, these cognitively challenging activities keep the mind sharp—and fend off Alzheimer's.
Games and puzzles work parts of the brain that elders often don't use, requiring them to recall how to spell or deal with financial issues. Additionally, games that require other players provide a social aspect that's important at any age.
The greatest benefits come to those with a lifelong love for such games, with some studies showing that regular playing reduces the risk of brain plaques that cause dementia. But any game where the player has to focus and pay attention to complex strategies is helpful. That includes online games and video games.
While there are plenty of great gift ideas you can get your elders, any of these will go a long way in showing how much you care about them and their health. Happy Holidays!