Challenging games and art keep brains fit and healthy

A new activity aimed at stimulating senior minds starts this month at the Sierra 2 Senior Center. Led by Program Assistant Doug Lovelace, the Memory and Mind Club will meet from 11:40 a.m. to 12:25 p.m. Thursdays in Room 12, except on the third Thursday of each month. This new club features a variety of fun activities intended to strengthen memory, cognitive skills, neuroplasticity, problem-solving and creativity. The first club meeting on June 8 will include a short online brain assessment test followed by a competitive round of the memory game Concentration.

The Memory and Mind Club is an idea Doug has thought about for a quite some time. Witnessing memory decline firsthand, Doug thought this kind of activity could help many seniors. Doug firmly believes the idiom, “If you don’t use it, you lose it.” While it is true that memory and cognition change with age, the brain is actually capable of producing new cells at any age, so significant memory loss is not an inevitable result of aging. Just like other muscles in the body, the brain must be exercised to stay strong and sharp. Lifestyles, health habits and daily activities can have a huge impact on the brain’s health. The Memory and Mind Club will help seniors engage their brains in fun and different ways while, it is hoped, inspiring them to be more “mindful” on a daily basis.

Club activities will change weekly and may include drawing, painting, photography and sculpting, which tap into creativity, nurture problem solving skills, and promote brain plasticity. Similarly, there will be physical exercise like aerobics and dance to boost cognitive health and hand-eye coordination.

The club will also use computer and video games to enhance brain boosting activities. Finally, game days with a spread of word games such as Scrabble, Boggle, and Bananagrams offer an opportunity for socialization, which can delay memory loss in seniors. All are welcome to participate in this new activity. There is no set fee to join the Memory & Mind Club, but donations are always appreciated. Please call 455-6339 with questions.

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