Boosting the mental abilities in older adults has generated much interest ever since our understanding of brain plasticity began. We now know that, even though advanced age is one of the strongest risk factors for cognitive decline, older adults can undergo cognitive stimulation therapy which allows them to maintain and improve complex thinking processes.
Hello! My name is Chris Núñez from www.chrisnunezpsicologo.com; I have a postgraduate degree in clinical neuropsychology and work with older adults suffering from normal and pathological aging. In my professional practice, I have seen the amount of time that clinicians invest in the development of cognitive stimulation activities; thus, given the opportunity to use platforms like NeuronUP we should make the most out of it. Read this post until the end and I will give you some tips onhow to perform cognitive stimulation in older adults.
What is cognitive stimulation?
In the first place, it is essential to know what cognitive stimulation is. It is a non-pharmacological intervention which aims to improve the cognitive skills of older adults according to their own capabilities, while improving their overall quality of life. Therefore, cognitive stimulation for older adults is important because it is known that the degree of cognitive decline is associated with a higher level of dependency.
Although cognitive stimulation is not (and should not be) the only treatment for older people with cognitive impairment, it is widely recommended in any care guide. It is essential that neuropsychological evaluation is carried out before starting treatment to identify strengths and weaknesses of the older individual.
Once the assessment has been conducted, elderly individuals can start using NeuronUP ’s worksheets for cognitive stimulation.
I will use an example of a fictitious older adult who has a significant deficit in episodic memory but whose attention ability is preserved, to better illustrate the exercises. To show how NeuronUP can be used, below I have divided up the tips into three phases. Let’s get started!
Tips on cognitive stimulation with NeuronUP
1. Begin with simple exercises
The sessions should always begin with simple exercises for the person; that is, using worksheets to train cognitive processes that the person does not suffer deficits in. Continuing from the above example, if the person preserves the function of attention, then he/she should start with attention-related activities. NeuronUP’s activity Bottle caps is an excellent exercise for this purpose.