As we age, our mental alertness can decrease.
This is not always the case, but the aging process can make it more challenging to deal with everyday tasks such as paying bills or even taking a walk around the neighborhood. We may struggle to remember the names of family members or the ingredients of our favorite dishes.
The impact of aging on memory has been long documented; however, those issues can morph into something that has an even more severe impact on the quality of life that seniors enjoy – and that is dementia.
Dementia is not a single condition. There is a wide spectrum of disorders that can contribute to dementia – including Alzheimer’s.
However, thankfully seniors can take steps to mitigate against dementia – and in some cases where it is present, can even make inroads in reversing its effects. These steps include training the brain and helping it to form new synaptic connections.
One of the best ways to do this is by using one (or some) of the many brain training apps that are readily available today. These apps help keep the mind active in a variety of ways, including games and mental exercises.
Here are some of the best apps.
Apps To Help With Dementia
Lumosity has gained a huge following due, in part to the fact that it is so easy to personalize and keep track of progress in skills and aptitudes such as memory, attention and focus, speed, mental flexibility, and problem-solving.
It will even allow users to practice specific tasks so that they can focus on areas where they think they could do with a boost. Tasks can include matching names to faces and location identity, among many others.
Lumosity provides a fresh set of games each day – and the program actually adapts to the unique strengths and weaknesses of the individual.
It’s fun – and effective – and after spending some time using Lumosity, seniors will quickly realize why it is one of the world’s most popular brain training apps.
This award-winning app offers something a bit different. Not only does it provide exercises that stimulate the brain in areas, but also lifestyle tips, providing a more holistic approach to both mental and physical health.
BrainyApp is the brainchild of Alzheimer’s Australia and the Bupa Health Foundation.
It’s fun and has been designed by mental health professionals in cooperation with designers that have gone that extra mile to provide absorbing, challenging, and effective exercises – and some truly valuable lifestyle hints and tips.
For seniors who want to maintain their writing, speaking, listening, reading, and mathematics skills (and grow those skills), Elevate is a great app. It offers a practical and immersive way to build vocabulary and comprehension skills.
It features over 40 games and offers that valuable tracking feature. The algorithm that powers Elevate will also automatically adjust to skills levels, making sure that the experience is challenging but not frustrating, allowing seniors to master tasks at their own pace.
It has been designed by professionals – and has been the subject of an independent study that showed that Elevate users improved their skills in its key focus areas by 69% when compared with non-users.
4. Matrix – Brain Challenge
This is an app that is aimed squarely at those who want to improve their memory and, as such, can be of tremendous value to those who are suffering from dementia – or who want to stave off its effects.
User reviews are extremely positive, with many giving the app 5-stars for user-friendliness.
With over 20 levels of difficulty and the ability to compare scores with thousands of other users, this app, which is available from the App Store (it’s designed for use with iOS devices), is deservedly a fan favorite.
Dementia Brain Training Apps
Based on cutting-edge research in neuroscience conducted at the Freie Universität Berlin (the Free University of Berlin), NeuroNation provides seniors with more than 60 different brain-training games.
These games and activities target memory, logic, and concentration. It’s designed to take only 30 minutes a day to see the benefit – and it’s used by a community of 23 million.
2. Peak Brain Training
The designers of Peak invite seniors and others to ‘Level Up Your Brain!’ – and they want to do so with short, intense workouts based on puzzles and challenges that are aimed at enhancing focus, memory, problem-solving and mental agility.
This is another app that aims to enhance the journey to better mental health by tracking progress and offering encouragement as the user becomes more adept at the tasks that it sets. It’s a great way to motivate users.
The designers have worked with multidisciplinary scientists from Cambridge, Yale, UCL, and King’s College London – so they have some heavyweight thinkers that contribute to making Peak a great experience.
This app has a huge selection of puzzles, quizzes, games, and various other mental challenges that are designed to improve cognitive health and promote mental agility. Rather than zero in on a small selection of cognitive skills, CogniFit throws it sent wide.
It is aimed at a holistic approach to cognitive health, targeting 20+ factors that lead to a balanced cognitive competency. The app has the ability to monitor progress in real-time.
The test has been designed by neuroscientists, and the results and tracking algorithm are about as good as they come, with both daily and weekly monitoring available. The app learns with the user and tailors the offering to make the experience more rewarding.
It’s also worth noting that the games are great fun. This app is used by 291 companies across the globe – so they have to be doing something right.
4. Personal Zen
Dementia almost inevitably leads to elevated stress levels. The stress of not being able to remember names, places, and faces can lead to the onset of severe depression.
Dementia also takes away that all-important independence that we all value – and that can become a real challenge as we age. Personal Zen is an app that should be seen as complementary to the cognitive training offerings that are out there.
The designers have focused on providing seniors with an app that promotes calm and happiness by reducing levels of stress. The app uses a concept called “attention bias modification training.”
A study published in “Clinical Psychological Science” showed that this approach was highly effective in reducing levels of stress. Just 25 minutes a day using the app will deliver a reduction in levels of stress – and the exercises are tremendously simple.
Game Apps To Prevent Dementia
Dementia is a serious issue that faces seniors – it can have devastating effects. With the loss of general cognitive function and memory, in particular, come a host of challenges.
These challenges can affect the ability to complete what were once simple day-to-day tasks- and lead to confusion and frustration.
However, the effects can be more far-reaching than the definition of “memory loss and cognitive degeneration.” Dementia touches each and every part of the lives of those who suffer from it. It negatively affects relations with family and loved ones – and prevents socialization.
It can be physically dangerous. Memory issues affecting those who live alone can lead to life-threatening injuries.
These apps may not work for everyone. It takes so much more than just an app to try to prevent dementia.
Reducing your chances of dementia requires monitoring your entire health picture: exercise, nutrition, and mental engagement. To learn more about overall health apps that can help seniors manage all aspects of their health journey, read this guide here.
There are still ongoing large biological studies that are underway to provide more information – but smaller studies provide hope that these apps can make a real difference to those who are suffering from dementia – or who want to prevent it from affecting their cognition – and by extension every aspect of their lives.