A lot of Americans aged 65-and-over don’t exercise their brains like they should. Instead they spend countless hours watching TV while bogged down in stagnant routines. Studies focused on seniors have determined that when they don’t stimulate their minds with healthy activities, it can lead to loneliness and depression. And, when it’s happening to your loved one who’s still aging in place at home, it’s concerning.

Researchers have further found that a senior’s mind can stay sharp well into their 80s when exposed to enjoyable activities, which helps prevent memory loss, dementia, and Alzheimer’s disease. If you’re currently caring for a senior who could benefit from a rejuvenating burst of mental activity, here are some fun ways to make it happen.

Get Them Socializing Again

Have you noticed mom or dad has stopped socializing with their friends like they used to? Socializing with others not only stimulates our mind, but it’s also a great way to learn new things and improve self-esteem. If your loved one’s mobility is still good, encourage them to get out and meet new friends. If transportation is a problem, arrange for a ride-sharing service like Uber or Lyft, or many communities offer free public bus services for seniors. Here are some social activities they might enjoy:

  • Joining a gym. There’s probably a senior-friendly gym nearby where they can take a Yoga class that will benefit both their mental and physical health. Water aerobics is another low-impact form of exercise that’s ideal for the elderly.
  • Golf. Golfing is a great activity for seniors as it combines physical exercise, brain power and socializing, all while being outdoors. Senior leagues are available at most golf courses, and other fun league activities they might enjoy include pickle ball, shuffle board or horseshoes.
  • Travel club. If there are some exciting places your mom or dad have always wanted to see, help them find a local travel club that’s tailored for the 65+ crowd. There are senior travel clubs that embark on fun day trips, or even weekend excursions to exotic destinations. It’s a good way to make new friends with similar interests, or if they’re single, they could possibly find a new mate.
  • Social media. If your senior is homebound, get them to turn off the TV and tune into the power of the Internet. Teach them how to safely connect via social media and email with family members and old friends who live far away, or while making new friends.

Volunteering

Every community has a plethora of volunteer opportunities, and what better way to keep your loved one active, mentally sharp, and feeling positive, then by helping others? Here are some great ways that seniors can volunteer:

  • Cancer centers or hospitals
  • Preparing and delivering food to shut-ins
  • Local food pantries or homeless shelters
  • Churches and other religious organizations
  • Making military care packages for troops stationed overseas
  • Not-for-profit charities (If they’re not very mobile, they can still make phone calls for these organizations from home)

Take a Fun Class

We’re never too old to learn new things, and one of the best ways to keep seniors mentally active is by taking a class. Here are some of the various classes that your loved one might enjoy:

  • Birdwatching
  • Creative writing
  • Garden