My parents were both educators and have been retired for more than 10 years - they are both currently 73 years old. The problem is not with my dad, but my mom. My dad has a lot of hobbies and gets together with his fishing buddies to tie flies, and he helps out in the church and goes to exercise 3 times a week, plus he works in the yard a lot. My mom doesn't have dementia or memory issues, but I would say that unlike my dad, she is just not as "sharp" as she used to be, if that makes sense. It is like her thinking has slowed down. While she was working she had a great vocabulary, and now, not so much. She doesn't really have any hobbies or activities, but I know she would be open to them, especially if my dad or I would do it with her. Are there any good activities (NOT online games) that we could do that would help bring back some of the "sharpness" that has diminished? Thanks in advance for your ideas.
Yes, the key to sharp mind is to remain active both physically and mentally. Going out, walking, meeting people, talking to them etc enhances both physical and mental health. So, your mother must go for walks, join a library or a club, and take up a hobby she always wanted to do like music or painting or gardening etc.
Other than this, you as a family can play scrabble, crossword puzzles with word building, sudoko puzzles, memory games (where each player keeps adding a word and the next player has to repeat all the previous words by memory and add his/her own word). You all could read a book or article and discuss it. Similarly you all could go out and the next day discuss the previous day’s event. You could play a game wherein you recall what you ate for breakfast for last 7 days or for lunch etc.
Basically you need to devise games around recent and old memories, add a new information and see her retention capacity (like you could play a game wherein you learn the three tallest buildings in the world or three longest bridges—then you go back to it a day or two later and see if she has remembered by each one of you recalling the names).
Also, it would be great if she could take a cognition assessment test. Take care!
The medical advice given should not be considered a substitute for medical care provided by a doctor who can examine you. The advice may not be completely correct for you as the doctor cannot examine you and does not know your complete medical history. Hence this reply to your post should only be considered as a guiding line and you must consult your doctor at the earliest for your medical problem.
I agree wholeheartedly with Dr. Mathur's comments. The only thing I can add, is that if you think there is any possibility that your mom is depressed, you should be aware that depression in the elderly tends to mimic dementia.
Getting involved in the type of activities Dr. Mathur describes, assuming your mom finds those activities pleasurable, should help -- regardless of the fundamental cause of her mental issues. It is important for everyone to be able to take pleasure in life. Pleasure is a wonderful medicine.
Dr. Mathur's comment about your mom's taking a cognitive assessment test is also right on. There is a brief test called the Mini Mental Status Exam that only takes a few minutes and is a good predictor of future dementia. A clinician who is competent to administer the MMSE should also be competent to screen your mom for depression.
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