If you only think video games are for kids and teenagers, think again. Studies have found that playing video games improves memory and cognitive functions of the human brain.
Cognition has to do with how a person understands and acts in the world. It is a set of abilities, skills, or processes that are part of nearly every human action. Cognitive abilities are brain-based skills we need to carry out any task from the simplest to the most complex.
Most of the memory problems we experience with age reflect normal changes in the structure and function of the brain. These changes can slow certain cognitive processes, making it a bit harder to learn new things quickly or screen out distractions that can interfere with memory and learning. It’s important to continue to learn and do new activities as you age that improve your memory and cognitive brain functions.
Here is a list of cool technology to help aging parents continue to learn.
- Video chat. While not brand new, many seniors have never had the opportunity to use Skype, FaceTime or Google Hangout to chat with a family member or friend. Consider getting your parents a computer, iPad or iPhone, or tablet to help them keep in touch with loved ones beyond a telephone call.
- Remembering to take medicine. It can be tough for anyone to remember if they took their medication at the right time. For seniors who live on their own, setting an alarm on a cell phone may do the trick. There’s also a company named E-pill offers several medication-monitoring gadgets such as the E-pill station, which stores a full month of medication and sounds an alarm when it’s time to take them.
- Video game consoles. Perhaps the most popular video game console with seniors is the Nintendo Wii. The Wii Sports game package enables seniors to enjoy popular sports like bowling, tennis and boxing, and compete in a fun and safe team environment. Other popular video game consoles are the Xbox One and Playstation 4.
- Learning apps. There are thousands of learning and memory apps to download on a smart phone, tablet or computer. Many of these apps are free while others are fee-based. From simple puzzles and interactive quizzes to help finding misplaced items and remembering people’s names, there’s an app. Top apps are Brain Workout for Android, Fit Brains Trainer for iPhone, Lumosity for iPhone, and My Personal Memory Trainer for Android.
- E-reader. E-readers are a great way to own or borrow books without having to worry about storage or returning the book to the library on time. According to the American Library Association, 76 percent of U.S. libraries offer eBooks and nearly 2 in 5 libraries lend eReaders. In addition to Amazon and Barnes & Noble, many eBooks can be borrowed or purchased on ebrary, 3M Cloud library and Axis360.
Consider these tips to help you or your aging parent keep your memory sharp and brain healthy with technology.