Certain changes occur throughout the body as we age. The physical changes, such as wrinkles and gray hair, might be most noticeable. But there are plenty of other changes that happen as well. While our brains change as we age, the impact on otherwise healthy older adults is usually minor, such as small declines in memory or thinking skills. You might occasionally struggle to remember someone’s name or find multitasking difficult.
The good news is that older adults can take action to promote and even improve cognitive health. And living in a more social environment, like a retirement community, can actually help keep your mind sharp.
In this article, we’ll highlight five ways older adults can boost brain health and even learn new skills as they age at communities like Harbour’s Edge in Delray Beach, Florida.
1. Take Up a New Hobby
For example, at Harbour’s Edge, residents can:
- Participate in water activities in our temperature-controlled swimming pool
- Sign up for a class in our Activities Center and gain insight into a new hobby
- Try out painting or another artistic endeavor in our Arts and Crafts Studio
- Learn about a new skill or hobby at our Lifelong Learning Center
If taking up a completely new hobby doesn’t sound ideal, there are also cognitive benefits from keeping up with a hobby or hobbies that you enjoyed previously or that you currently enjoy. Ensure that you make time to participate in the activities you love, and your brain can benefit.
2. Maintain Social Interactions
As we age, it becomes more difficult to develop and maintain social connections. However, being social provides a number of health benefits for older adults, such as increased happiness and reduced stress levels. Participating in an engaging conversation stimulates the mind and can also promote cognitive health.
Life at a senior living community can help you connect with other people who you might have never crossed paths with elsewhere. For instance, residents of Harbour’s Edge have plenty of opportunities to socialize, whether they are participating in group activities, dining with others or having a drink in our cocktail lounge.
3. Set Yourself Up for Better Sleep
Older adults may think they need less sleep than when they were younger, but in reality adults of every age need about the same amount of sleep — 7 to 9 hours per night. However, actually getting that amount of sleep can sometimes be a challenge for people as they age.
How does this affect brain health? The National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke notes that “sleep is important to a number of brain functions, including how nerve cells (neurons) communicate with each other…recent findings suggest that sleep plays a housekeeping role that removes toxins in your brain that build up while you are awake.”
Some ways you can get better sleep include:
- Develop a bedtime routine and follow a regular sleep schedule
- Avoid watching TV or using mobile devices in the bedroom
- Keep your bedroom at a comfortable temperature
- Exercise at regular times during the day
- Stay away from caffeine late in the day
Note that certain medical conditions can also cause sleep problems. Consider connecting with a primary care physician if you find yourself struggling to get enough sleep each day.
4. Stay Active & Get Regular Exercise
Maintaining a regular exercise routine as you get older can do wonders for your physical and mental health, too. At Harbour’s Edge, staying active is as easy as heading outside and walking along our beautiful outdoor path that runs along the Intracoastal Waterway. You can also swim a few laps or sign up for a water aerobics class in our resort-style swimming pool.
Between our Fitness Center, Wellness Center, and Activities Center, there’s no shortage of options for older adults looking to improve cognitive health through physical activity.
5. Build Healthier Eating Habits
Eating a balanced diet with plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables is key to physical and mental health, too. Going to the grocery store, stocking the kitchen and preparing meals on your own makes it easy to fall into repetitive eating habits. However, residing in an upscale senior living community makes it easier to eat healthy meals.
For instance, the talented culinary team at Harbour’s Edge works with our dietician to develop a varied menu full of nutritious options. If you enjoy cooking, all of our independent living floor plans have a kitchen included. But if you prefer to have someone else doing the meal prep you can enjoy casual dining at our restaurant, open five days a week, or an intimate meal with friends. Oh, and did we mention daily complimentary continental breakfast at the Lounge? Bon appétit!
Enjoy a Stimulating Life at Harbour’s Edge
Harbour’s Edge provides ample opportunities for you to focus on your physical, intellectual, social and spiritual well-being. Our residents enjoy year-round sunshine, Intracoastal Waterway views and easy access to arts, shopping, food and nightlife. Contact us to learn how you can enrich your life at Harbour’s Edge.