Loss of brain power is a growing concern as the population of the United States ages. Alzheimer’s and dementia are valid fears held by many Baby Boomers and succeeding generations. They worry about losing their memory and then other cognitive abilities and turning into a shell of their previous self. To cope with this anxiety, many are taking steps to exercise their minds years after leaving college.
Keeping their memory sharp, or actually improving memory skills , is a key activity to stave off brain drain. However, who wants to sit and memorize long lists of facts and numbers? It was a dreaded exercise in grade school so there’s no reason to believe that those in middle age and older would want to return to rote memorization. There are other ways, fun ways, to engage the memory and other mental faculties.
One of the best ways to keep the mind sharp is by learning a new language. Individuals who plan to spend their retirement traveling may want to plan ahead and learn German online now. Or they can enroll in a local conversational class that will allow them to interact with an instructor and classmates and provide even more mental stimulation.
The flip side of that coin is to become a teacher. There are lots of immigrants across the country who want to learn English . Teaching requires a good grasp of vocabulary, grammar, syntax, and pronunciation. Teachers have to stay on their toes in order to answer questions and guide students through the intricacies of the English language.
In addition to language, learning or teaching any new skill-set or subject matter will require strong memory skills as well as analytical and other cognitive skills. People can learn to cook a new type of cuisine, master a craft, or even study history, art, or literature. Or they can identify a skill or subject in which they are an expert and offer a class to others.
And, yes, there is an app for this. In fact, there are dozens of mobile apps, computer sites and games that are designed to help people exercise their memories using trivia, vocabulary, math, and logic skills. Everything from scrabble to chess to hidden object games provide hours of fun that also improve the memory.
contributed by Bradley Osborne, a popular columnist and blogger. His work has appeared on news and family sites as well as educational sites like lessonplanet.com and top lifestyle blogs.
image courtesy Creative Commons License