It's natural for your brain to slow down a little as you age, but that doesn't mean significant cognitive decline is inevitable. Stimulating your brain helps new connections form between nerve cells, improving your thinking abilities and staving off cognitive decline as you get older. Brain training is a fun way to develop these new connections. Instead of going to the gym to build up your muscle strength, you use brain-training apps to build up your cognitive abilities. With many brain-training apps on the market, you don't even need to leave the comfort of your assisted living apartment to improve your cognitive skills. Download one of these apps and learn how fun it can be to exercise your brain.
One of the most popular brain-training apps, Lumosity, adapts to your skill level, making brain training something you enjoy, rather than something you dread. The app has a variety of activities focusing on skills, such as processing speed, attention, memory and problem solving, allowing you to customize each training session to meet your needs. If you'd prefer to do your training on a larger screen, the app is also available for desktop computers.
After you download Lumosity, you'll have access to a fit test, an assessment that determines your baseline performance so that the app can create a personalized training program. The fit test includes three activities: Memory Matrix, Chalkboard Challenge and Ebb and Flow. Memory Matrix tests your memory by displaying tile patterns and asking you to remember them. In Chalkboard Challenge, you put your math skills to the test by viewing two numbers and quickly trying to determine which one is larger. Ebb and Flow tests your brain's flexibility by asking you to indicate which way the green leaves are pointing and which way the orange leaves are moving. Once you complete the fit test, Lumosity gives you the option of creating a personalized training program focused on your main areas of interest.
CogniFit has assessments and training programs, allowing you to identify your weaknesses and work on them with fun, game-like activities. The app includes 23 assessments for skills, such as response time, divided attention, spatial perception, focused attention and visual perception. CogniFit also has assessments designed to determine if a decline in cognitive function could be due to the presence of depression, fibromyalgia or another medical disorder.
Once you complete the assessment process, you can start addressing problem areas by using the app's personalized training programs. CogniFit has training programs designed specifically for 55+ adults, people with a history of stroke and people with a history of Parkinson's disease, insomnia and attention-deficit hyperactivity disorder (ADHD).
Available exclusively for Apple devices, Elevate provides a personalized training program to help you improve your cognitive abilities. As you progress, the app adapts to your new level of cognitive function by giving you more challenging activities to complete. Elevate includes activities designed to improve your vocabulary, math skills, processing speed, focus, memory and speaking skills, making it ideal for adults with a wide range of capabilities.
Each week, you receive a report on your overall performance and your performance in each skill category, making it easy to determine where to focus your attention the next week. The app also gives you the ability to compare yourself against other users, which is an attractive feature if you're a little competitive when it comes to brain training.
Although Fit Brains offers activities to help you improve your memory, problem-solving skills and thinking speed, it also helps you improve your emotional intelligence with activities that focus on self-awareness and social skills, making the app especially useful for older adults with a history of stroke. If you have grandchildren who visit your assisted living apartment from time to time, download the kids' version of the app to keep them entertained. You'll be able to work on your brain training together, showing the kids that learning really can be fun.
The Eidetic app is helpful for older adults who want to improve their memories. It uses a concept called spaced repetition to help you remember sequences of words or numbers. Using spaced repetition, the amount of time between sequences increases as you progress through each activity. For example, the time between the first few sequences might only be two seconds; once you are near the end of the set, you may have to wait five seconds or more between sequences, making it more difficult to remember each one.
The Gardens at Barry Road assisted living community in Kansas City, Missouri has plenty of activities to keep you busy, but if you feel like staying home, brain training is a great way to pass the time. Improve your memory, speed up your processing skills or increase your attention span by downloading one of these mobile apps and using it daily.