Exercise Your Brain
In order to help delay the progression of this disease it is important that you exercise those parts of your brain that affect your memory and thinking. It is for this reason that I spend at least one hour everyday keeping my brain active by completing word targets and puzzles such as Sudoku and Simon’s Codebreaker. More recently, I have started accessing Wordle.
There is a multitude of resources available on the internet and in hard copy form, that depending on your age, are designed to keep the brain active. By utilising what doctors refer to as ‘cognitive reserve or neuroplasticity’, I hope by regularly keeping my mind active, I will be able to rewire it, by creating new pathways for nervous impulses to travel throughout my brain.
However, it is very difficult to locate brain exercises that are specifically designed for people with Alzheimer’s Disease. It is for this reason that I try to keep everything very simple by buying the Daily Telegraph paper during the week and the Sunday Telegraph over the week-end. By programming my Perx App, I usually spend between 1 – 1.5 hrs each day, from Monday to Saturday, completing:
Sudoku – Rating Difficult
Target Master – in this exercise you are tasked with making as many words as possible, containing at least four letters or more. Of the 9 letters you are given, the letter in the centre must be present in all of your words. A target is then set for you in order to gauge your performance.
Simon Shuker’s Code Cracker – Usually, you are given the identity of two letters. After placing them in the control grid, you are then required to use your knowledge of words to determine the identity of the letters that go into the missing squares.
On Sunday, I will read the paper and if I’m feeling like a challenge, I will attempt the Samurai Sudoku . Other than that, I will then go back through the week’s papers and complete one or more of the following other activities: Wordfit, Double Cross, 5 x 5 and 9 = 6.
Under the resources section of this website, I plan over the next few months to develop my own series of Brain Activities that hopefully will be useful for those that have diagnosed with Mild to Moderate Alzheimer’s Disease.
Studies have shown, that activities which stimulate thinking and memory, have been found to build up your cognitive reserve, due to the increase in the number/strength of the connections between your brain cells. Different ways of mental stimulation might include: reading newspapers, books and challenging material, discussions of current events, solving puzzles, playing board games, playing music, dancing, cooking etc.
Needless to say, on a daily basis, I take advantage of every opportunity that becomes available, in order to stimulate my brain and strengthen the memory connections in my brain. For example, when I’m working in the family restaurant as a waiter, after writing down everyone’s order on my pad, I will only use my memory to enter all of the details into the POS machine. Before, I send it to the kitchen, I will cross check everything that I have entered and make any changes that I need to. On a busy night, then would happen at least ten times.
When I need to go to Woolworths to buy anything for the restaurant, I always carry a list with me. Before I walk into the Woolworths store, I will look at the list and then place it in my pocket. The next time I look at the list, is when I’m just about to line up and pay for the items that I have collected.
As animals search or forage for food for survival, we also tend to forage through our minds, especially at times of uncertainty or unpredictability. Cognitively, when we are foraging, we are activating specific areas of our brains, as we are searching our memories, relying on information that has been stored, as we learn and make decisions. From my perspective, I do of mental foraging during my early morning walks each day. As this is a time when I think ahead, not only planning and prioritising what I need to accomplish, but also trying to predict possible future outcomes and scenarios.