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10 fun & easy ways to keep your mind sharp as you age

Explore our top 10 simple ways to stay sharp for seniors

Minor memory and cognitive issues are a normal part of the aging process, but many seniors are at risk for developing serious neurological disorders, especially Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia as they age. 

While dementia has no proven cure, challenging your brain can help fight off signs of mental aging, plus challenges prevent your brain from severely deteriorating over time from lack of use.

Continue reading to learn 10 easy ways to keep your mind sharp as you age.

#1: Exercise regularly.

Exercise is not only great for your body, but your mind too! Recent research has shown that exercise helps to improve memory, reasoning, judgement, and thinking skills in aging adults with mild cognitive impairments. [1]

Just 30 minutes of physical activity per day helps increase blood flow to the brain, helping to reduce the risk of heart attack, diabetes, and dementia. 

Learn more: 

8 easy in-home exercises for seniors (no equipment needed!) 

#2: Eat healthy. 

The right nutrients help to optimize our brains’ function and prevent cognitive decline. Stay away from foods that are high in saturated fats and cholesterol and focus on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and lean meat. 

Plus, learning some new and nutritious recipes can be fun! Try involving your family or friends to cook with you, host a dinner party or create a healthy meal potluck. 

#3: Read every day.

Find a good book to read each day! Reading, along with other cognitive activities, can help to decrease your chance of developing dementia by up to 50%. [2]  

Not usually interested in reading? Make it more fun by hosting a book club with a few friends to discuss what you’ve read and pick new books to read together each month.

#4: Learn a new skill.

Now is the perfect time to pick up a new hobby or get back to one you enjoyed when you were younger! Photography, painting, ceramics, dancing, and learning a new language are all great options to get creative and keep your mind active.

By learning new skills and activities, your brain creates new neural pathways, which are great for cognitive function and mental health. 

Read more: 

The ultimate guide to senior mental health

#5: Get enough sleep. 

When we sleep, our brains have the chance to relax and process the day. Sleep also helps us form short-term memories which your brain has a harder time doing as you age. 

Getting the right amount of sleep is crucial—defined as at least 7 hours a night for adults. 

#6: Play an instrument. 

Whether you want to pick up an instrument you played when you were younger or learn something new, playing an instrument is a great way to improve mental function and just have fun! 

In a recent study, senior participants showed improved hearing, memory, and hand movement after just four months of learning an instrument. [3] 

#7: Write in a journal. 

Another one of the many ways to keep your mind sharp is through writing. Handwriting can actually help activate the regions of the brain responsible for thinking, language, and memory. [4] 

Pick up a journal and write about whatever you want—memories, letters, a story, whatever makes you happy! 

#8: Socialize with loved ones.

Socializing with friends and family helps to sharpen your brain. It’s also a great way to have more fun! Try hosting a party or lunch with your friends and family.

Stay active in your community by volunteering, if you’re able, or finding what group activities are available in your community or religious group. Connecting with others is a great way to stay positive and sharp!

Read more: 

6 ways to thrive as you age with fun activities for seniors 

#9: Play puzzles and games.

Puzzles and brain games are a great way to keep your mind sharp, and they’re easy to integrate into your daily life. Try a daily crossword puzzle or Sudoku—any game that gets your brain working! If you prefer online games, AARP has a lot of free brain games on their website. 

Playing board games and card games are also a great option if you’re with family and friends. 

#10: Break out of your routine.

We all naturally fall into routines that we’re comfortable with. Try mixing it up once in a while to keep your mind working in new ways.

It doesn’t have to be anything too complicated—even just using your non-dominant hand or closing your eyes while tying your shoelaces are great ways for your brain to begin to think differently.  

Looking for a caregiver to support you with these activities?

At Flourish in Place, we’re committed to helping seniors and adults with disabilities continue to flourish with dignity in the comfort and safety of their own homes through our wide variety of specialized services.

Our trained, compassionate caregivers can assist with a variety of needs including personal care, dementia care, cooking and serving nutritious meals and companionship.

To learn more, please request a Free Consultation today.


1: The University of Arizona | The Role of Physical Exercise in Cognitive Function 

2: The Mayo Clinic | The Mayo Clinic Study of Aging: design and sampling, participation, baseline measures and sample characteristics 

3: U.S. National Library of Medicine National Institutes of Health | Music drives brain plasticity  

4: Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience | Learning through Hand- or Typewriting Influences Visual Recognition of New Graphic Shapes: Behavioral and Functional Imaging Evidence  

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