How to Improve your Loved One’s Cognitive Skills

Choice HomecareAging, Aging Parents, Caregiving, Dementia, Seniors

It’s common to experience a mental decline or memory loss as you get older or as a result of dementia or Alzheimer’s. Therefore, it’s essential to find ways to help keep the minds of older loved ones stimulated and engaged so their brains can remain active and healthy. Here are some useful activities to keep your loved one mentally agile.


Crosswords are a perfect activity to help keep the mind sharp. Each clue requires you to remember names, places, and words, boosting your memory. They serve as an excellent method to reminisce about the past or brush up on history lessons.

Video games

A Nintendo gaming system isn’t just for the young; it’s also an excellent activity that can encourage hand and eye coordination and can keep your loved one mentally stimulated. You don’t have to buy an elaborate video game system. Just downloading some simple games on smartphones that they can play any time. Perfect examples are Scrabble, Tetris, and Bejewelled, which are simple strategy games that have the ability to improve memory and cognitive skills. Super Mario Run is another great game that will keep them challenged and engaged with a familiar face. Not only will playing games provide them with hours of fun, but it will also give seniors a mental workout that helps improve mental quickness and visual recognition.


Sometimes, nothing beats curling up with a cup of tea and a good book, and it can actually be an excellent way to keep the mind sharp. Reading is a hobby that can offer significant cognitive stimulation, offering new stories to experience and facts to learn. Many seniors take up reading for the purpose of protecting their mental health, and it’s easy to see why when considering the positive impact it can have.


If they’re still capable of getting around easily and have a passion to see the world, travel can offer wonderful, stimulating experiences. This doesn’t mean you need to shell out for multiple international flights or hotel stays, either; something as simple as a weekend getaway or a scenic river cruise offers something different. Escaping from everyday life and having fresh new experiences is ideal for folks of any age, and your loved one is sure to enjoy a new adventure that offers new sights, sounds, tastes and smells. They may even make a friend or two, opening up possibilities of penpals to further keep the mind sharp.


Music is a series of patterns and rhythms that encourages auditory memory. Singing songs requires remembering the words and adjusting your vocal sounds to hit the notes. Through songs, seniors often remember their past experiences and even develop new memories. By providing them with an iPod or radio with music familiar to them, you will quickly notice an increase in their energy levels and more positive feelings and emotions.


One way to help stimulate your loved one’s memory and cardiovascular system is through dancing. Moving across the floor and remembering dance steps jog their mind and help blood flow to the brain. It also encourages feel-good emotions, which is important for senior health and wellness.

Workshops and classes

From taking up pottery to ever-popular watercolour painting lessons, workshops and classes with others suffering from memory loss are a great way to get out, have some fun, make new friends, and enhance cognitive skills. Recognizing patterns, colours, and using imagination provide a great way for seniors to remain mentally stimulated. Before long, they may even want to pick up a paintbrush or dabble in a new hobby at home, which you can enjoy with them to develop a stronger relationship while helping their minds stay active. Creativity is one of the most useful tools in fighting memory loss, and bonding over something that boosts mental stimulation will definitely benefit you both.

Museums and other educational facilities

Knowledge is what empowers the mind and encourages thinking, and what better way for your loved ones to do this than to visit a museum, zoo, historical site, or other landmarks? This is particularly beneficial if you have loved ones who have a passion for history or specific cultures and for learning. Seniors who absorb knowledge and come face-to-face with fascinating representations of culture tend to do better than those who simply read about them. It’s all in the experience and how it is presented to them.

Keeping your loved one mentally stimulated as they age is important for preventing cognitive decline and improving their overall health. Use these simple and effective methods to keep their minds active and engaged.