Just as we should exercise to keep our bodies strong, we should also challenge ourselves with mental workouts that help keep the brain young and healthy. While there’s no way to prevent aging of the brain altogether, research shows that doing certain brain exercises boosts memory, concentration, and focus, and helps keep your mind sharp as you get older.
Today, we’ll look at a few different exercises that promote brain health and keep you feeling young in spirit. After all, the familiar adage applies here: Use it or lose it!
Pick Your Puzzle
Whether it’s a jigsaw, a crossword, or Sudoku, challenging yourself to solve puzzles is a great way to keep your brain sharp—and a lot of fun to boot. Different types of puzzles work different areas of your brain, so it’s a good idea to switch it up now and then. There’s something classic and peaceful about doing the puzzles in your local newspaper with a pen and paper. But if you’re looking for an easy digital fix, The Washington Post compiles all their daily crossword puzzles in one free, online library. This website has billions of free Sudoku puzzles with varying levels of difficulty.
Learn a New Language
There is a wealth of evidence proving that learning multiple languages provides huge cognitive benefits. Bilingualism promotes memory, creativity, and visual-spatial skills. It also helps you switch mental gears more easily, meaning you can switch between tasks faster and delay the onset of age-related brain decline. The best part is, it’s never too late to reap the cognitive benefits of learning a new language: Researchers insist that you can improve your brain health by becoming a student of Spanish, French, or Mandarin at any stage of life.
Bust a Move
Yep, that’s right—dancing is good for your brain health as well as your physical health! Well, more specifically, learning new dance moves is. According to the CDC, learning a new dance increases your brain’s processing speed and memory. Now may not be the best time to take a salsa or ballroom dance class, but that doesn’t mean you can’t learn new moves on your own time. Check out this instructional video that is specifically geared toward teaching seniors Latin dancing, or grab your partner and learn the basics of swing.
Try a New Hobby
Taking up a new hobby or skill is a powerful way to strengthen the connections in your brain and improve memory. Always wanted to learn how to rebuild a vintage car? Curious about decoupage? Now is the time to get started on a new hobby or skill that will not only enrich your life, but also challenge your brain to a workout. With more time on your hands, retirement is a great stage of life to try new things and take up hobbies.
Download a Free App
There are hundreds of free smartphone apps featuring puzzles, games, and challenges to improve cognitive wellness. For example, the CogniFit Brain Fitness app tracks your progress and tells you which areas are most in need of improvement. BrainHQ, which is available online and via smartphone, asks users to solve problems and adapts the difficulty level based on your individual ability. But beware: The aforementioned apps are backed by real scientific evidence, but there are many apps out there of dubious effectiveness. This article provides a helpful guide for choosing the right ones.
At HealthKeeperz, our approach to wellness is holistic. That means we focus on caring for the whole person — not only meeting your needs for physical care, but also for spiritual, emotional, and social support.
You can’t care for every aspect of a person without the properly trained personnel. That’s why we hire people of many different specialties, from registered nurses and occupational therapists to case managers and medical social workers.
“Medical social worker” — there’s a term you may not have heard before. Most people outside the healthcare field probably haven’t, yet medical social workers play an important role in caring for patients. Today, we’ll take a closer look into what they do and how they may be able to help you or a loved one.
Medical Social Work: An Important and Holistic Discipline
Medical social work is a sub-discipline within the larger field of social work. It deals with patients and families who are in need of “psychosocial” help, or help relating to a combination of social factors and individual behavior.
Some of the social factors that are addressed in medical social work are:
● Income level
● Family size and structure
The individual thoughts and behaviors that are often managed by medical social workers include:
● Grief counseling
● Supportive counseling
● Substance abuse
● Family intervention
Healthcare is often inextricably tied to these factors; for example, a patient’s financial status may restrict their access to quality healthcare, or a patient may have existing psychological issues that make it hard for them to cope with illness. It is the medical social worker’s job to help the patient and his or her family navigate these problems and find a way to recovery.
Medical social workers help patients find balance in their personal, family, and social lives. Without this balance, it is often difficult — or even impossible — for a patient to recover from a medical ailment and reintegrate into society. Alternately, if a full recovery is not possible, medical social workers make it easier to manage chronic conditions and access helpful resources.
Qualifications for Becoming a Medical Social Worker
Aspiring medical social workers undergo extensive training and practice. First, they must complete a bachelor’s degree in social work (BSW) or a related field like psychology or sociology. Most medical social worker positions also require applicants to complete a master’s degree in social work (MSW).
During their graduate studies, aspiring medical social workers must complete many hours of fieldwork to graduate — often as many as 1,000. Finally, they must obtain licensure through both the Association of Social Work Boards (ASWB) and their state’s board of social work. Medical social workers are always learning, and must complete a variety of continuing education courses to maintain their licensure.
How Can Medical Social Work Help Me or My Loved Ones?
A medical social worker can help you and your family answer some of life’s most difficult and important questions, including:
● When should I intervene in my loved one’s healthcare?
● What community resources are available to help me or my loved one?
● What is the best course of action to help me or a loved one heal physically, emotionally, and socially?
If you’ve been struggling with any of the above questions, we hope you’ll reach out to us for help from one of our skilled medical social workers. Give us a call at 800-309-3784 to begin the conversation.