What Is Cognitive Therapy?

Dementia is a neurological disorder characterized by severe memory loss and cognitive impairment. It causes behavioral changes and reduces quality of life. People with dementia struggle with thinking, remembering, and making decisions, which affects their daily activities.  Because the illness is chronic and progressive, delaying therapy might exacerbate it.

Keeping this in mind, what can you do to help your loved one cope? 

Medications and other supportive measures are always the first steps to take in managing dementia. However, there are also some   effective non-medical approaches that can be helpful. One such approach is cognitive  therapy, which involves training the brain through series of cognitive exercises.   

 We need to keep challenging our brains with specific  cognitive exercises to strengthen neural connections. This in turn helps in preventing the decline  or loss of  its functions. 

Aside from consuming a vitamin and antioxidant-rich diet and engaging in regular physical activity, which are essential for the ageing brain, there is an urgent need for cognitive activities that help exercise our neural networks and work to preserve our brain health. These activities form a part of cognitive stimulation programs for dementia management. These offer a wide range of brain-boosting activities, memory and problem-solving techniques, multimodal stimulation, and memory aids such as calendars and notebooks. Such programs are known to specifically benefit people who are at risk of developing dementia and those in its early stages. However, people in the later stages would also need to implement these to ensure some level of day-to-day functioning and independence. 

Cognitive Exercises For Dementia

Early care for dementia patients is required to prevent memory loss from progressing too quickly. Exercise for the brain helps to minimize neuronal damage linked with dementia-related diseases. It promotes the development of new brain structures and strengthens existing neural networks. These will help to reduce the burden of dementia progression.

Those in the early stages can benefit from the following exercises to stimulate their brain functions:

Social activities

  • Participating in cultural activities
  • Community volunteering 
  • Building connections through regular visits to parks and other public spaces 

Recreational activities

  • Learning a new language
  • Taking up a hobby or developing artistic interests
  • Playing musical instruments

Cognitive activities

  • Playing board games like chess
  • Solving crosswords, sudoku, anagrams, and word-search 
  • Solving tests of aptitude and reasoning 
  • Assembling jigsaw puzzles
  • Engaging in interactive online cognitive games aimed towards improving memory, processing speed, attention, visuospatial functioning, verbal fluency, etc.

People in the later phases can benefit from these social, recreational, and cognitive exercises since they improve first-person independent functioning and mental health. For the advantages to be apparent, these activities must be carried out on a continuous and structured basis. If the exercises are difficult to do, they can be simplified using step-by-step instructions. 

Apart from attempting to boost brain functioning, it is essential to keep stress levels down as it is known to cause neuronal changes and can cause further damage to an already fragile brain. Meditation and relaxation exercises need to be practiced regularly to keep the anxiety levels in check and also to boost emotional well-being which has a positive impact on the brain. 

If you or your loved one is at risk for or has been diagnosed with dementia our team at Senocare is available to offer our guidance and support to help slow down the progression of dementia.