Learn something new in retirement to stop dementia
Joining a book club or language class can help stave off dementia, but brain games may be of no use at all.
It’s well known that keeping your brain active can help ward off mental decline, and now a new report, titled Engage Your Brain, has analysed international research on brain health and found exactly what does and doesn’t help your mind.
“It is never too late to benefit from cognitively stimulating activities, and you can learn new things at any age,” the report states. “In the same way that you need to maintain exercise for physical strength, you need to participate in mental activities to support the health of your brain.
“There are many ways to incorporate such activities into your daily life. For example, deliberately engaging and challenging your brain over time - long after your formal schooling is over - results in better cognitive ageing for adults.”
Authors of the report, carried out by the Global Council on Brain Health, go on to write that learning something new is the best way to engage the brain, and say that retirement is the perfect time to take up a new hobby and joining a group with a friend was likely to help both stick at it longer.
However they also pointed out that brain training apps and games lacked evidence to support the claims that companies have promoted. Although the games may help one aspect of thinking, there was little evidence to show they were beneficial for overall brain function.