Can Brain Games and Apps Really Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

Can Brain Games and Apps Really Help Prevent Alzheimer’s?

If you’ve watched a senior family member struggle with the debilitating impact of Alzheimer’s, it has probably crossed your mind that you could be at risk for the disease. Because researchers haven’t figured out what causes Alzheimer’s, knowing what steps you can take to prevent it isn’t an exact science. But there are strong theories that might help. One of which involves brain games and apps.

Using Brain Games and Apps to Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

Alzheimer’s research seems to suggest that a set of techniques called ‘brain training’ may significantly reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Although research is on-going, preliminary results are encouraging.

Brain training is based on the idea that you can reduce the risk of cognitive impairment by challenging the brain regularly with a variety of tasks and exercises. These exercises can include activities like crossword puzzles, Sudoku, and taking up new hobbies as you grow older. They may also include a variety of computer brain games and apps.

6 Brain Game Apps That May Help Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

While research is required to support the evidence that brain training can prevent Alzheimer’s, these six apps are ones to consider downloading. Each one is challenging and entertaining.

  1. Luminosity App

With more than 70 million users worldwide, the Luminosity App is one of the most popular brain training apps on the market. It features a wide variety of games, each of which is designed to sharpen specific areas of brain functioning such as memory, attention, and processing speed.

  1. Peak Brain Training

Another popular cognitive improvement app, Peak Brain Training uses a number of short but intense exercises to improve mental skills like focus, problem-solving skills, and computational speed. It also features a virtual coach that helps track progress and point out problem areas.

  1. Dakim Brain Fitness

This app offers cross-training for the aging brain, with more than 100 different types of mental exercises that can simultaneously improve mental functioning and keep the user engaged. This app is especially promising because many of its exercises are based on the work of psychologists and brain researchers.

  1. Elevate

The Elevate App features simple and easy-to-access mini-games that use progressively more difficult exercises to improve mental speed, mathematical skills, concentration, and memory. Similar in some ways to Peak, Elevate is visually appealing, fast-paced, and entertaining.

  1. BrainyApp

This Australian app uses a more comprehensive approach to dementia prevention by providing challenges and rewards across five different lifestyle areas. These areas include heart health, physical exercise, cognitive maintenance, proper diet, and social activities. The BrainyApp differs from others of its kind because of its holistic approach to Alzheimer’s prevention.

  1. Cognifit Brain Fitness

This app features an initial cognitive assessment, as well as access to a wide range of entertaining and challenging games. The games were designed with the input of neuroscientists to help improve brain functioning in several different areas.

Hope for Older Americans with Alzheimer’s

At Heritage Senior Living communities, one of our goals is to inspire hope for people with dementia. In our memory care programs across Michigan, we help people with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia live their best quality of life.

From dedicated dining to continuous caregiver training, we are committed to empowering adults with dementia. We invite you to schedule a personal visit to learn more!


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Is Your Senior Loved One Ready for Michigan Winter Storms?

Is Your Senior Loved One Ready for Michigan Winter Storms?

Michigan winters are particularly challenging for seniors and caregivers. Cold, snowy months increase the risks of falls, fires, and isolation. Caregivers can take the following steps to help older adults prepare for winter storms.

Helping a Senior Prepare for a Michigan Winter

Prepare homes for winter.

When tackling winter preparedness for a senior loved one, caregivers should have homes checked for safety hazards and maintenance issues:

  • Windows can be sealed and weatherproofed to prevent drafts and keep heating bills low.
  • Check furnaces, air filters, and water heaters to make sure they are working properly. Decide how you will tackle snow removal, such as purchasing a snow blower, keeping a snow shovel on hand, or hiring a neighbor to help clear driveways.

Reduce potential fire hazards.

Older adults are at higher risk for injury in a home fire than younger adults. Take extra precautions to ensure safety:

  • Check that electrical cords are in safe condition.
  • Make sure smoke and carbon monoxide detectors have fresh batteries.
  • Use extra regular blankets, not an electric blanket as it can be a fire hazard.
  • Consider replacing traditional candles with “flameless” varieties.
  • Dispose of trees, wreaths, and other holiday greenery that has dried out.

Keep vehicles in good shape.

Both seniors and caregivers may want to have their cars serviced as soon as possible.

  • Maintain oil and antifreeze levels.
  • Keep gas tanks full to prevent ice in the fuel lines.
  • Make sure that the car’s windshield wipers, brakes, battery, and radiator are in good shape.
  • Check the tread on the vehicle’s tires, and have the tires replaced if necessary.
  • Keep emergency supplies in the car, including a flashlight or flares, jumper cables, and a first-aid kit.

Create a home emergency preparedness kit.

With a basic emergency kit, older adults can stay safe even in the worst weather and loss of power. Keep these items in a place where your loved one can reach them quickly and easily.

This kit might include:

  • Bottled water
  • A thermal blanket
  • Non-perishable foods
  • A flashlight with spare batteries

Since telephone “land lines” are more likely to be damaged in a snowstorm, consider giving your loved one a prepaid cell phone loaded with emergency numbers.

Dress warmly and appropriately.

When dressing for winter, the key phrase is “loose layers.” These layers create air pockets that help insulate from the cold, especially on windy days.

Remove snowy shoes when you come inside, and be sure to change out of clothes that have become damp. This not only keeps you warmer, but helps prevent slippery conditions that can lead to falls. Look for shoes that have good traction and non-skid soles.

For seniors with dementia, winter weather can increase anxiety and the tendency to wander. Caregivers might want to consider a tracking device to help find a loved one who becomes lost.

Get peace of mind in winter weather.

At Heritage Senior Communities, our caring staff members provide services and support that improve a senior’s quality of life year-round, in all weather.

Wellness checks, social activities, medication assistance, and housekeeping are just a few of the amenities we offer at our locations. Visit us online to learn more about Heritage Senior Communities and what type of residence is right for your loved one.


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Holiday Fire Dangers and Seniors in Michigan

Holiday Fire Dangers and Seniors in Michigan

Dear Donna,

I have a great-aunt who really loves to decorate her house during the holidays. Before having everyone over on Christmas Eve, she spends hours decorating. Lately, I’ve heard that seniors are more likely to experience holiday house fires than other age groups, much of which seems to be caused by decorations.

My aunt really goes all out! I don’t want to spoil her fun or seem condescending, but I do want to keep her safe.

What can we do for her in terms of fire prevention without dampening her spirits?

Kind regards,

Chris in Saginaw

Holiday Fire Safety for Seniors in Michigan

Dear Chris,

Thanks for asking such a great question! Unfortunately, you’re right about older adults and their risk of house fires during the holidays. According to the Electrical Safety Foundation International, the rate of house fires goes up dramatically during major holidays. And people older than 65 are twice as likely to be the victim of a home fire during the holiday season as younger adults.

This doesn’t mean that your great-aunt can’t enjoy herself during the holidays. But it is important that she and the rest of your family understand the things that put her at risk so you can take the necessary precautions.

Let’s have a look at what those risks are and what you can do to reduce them.

Fire Risk Factors for Seniors during the Holidays

The sources of holiday home fires often include:

  • Burning candles
  • Damaged or defective holiday lights
  • Live Christmas trees that dry out
  • Electrical outlets and extension cords

The best way to broach this subject with your great-aunt is probably to share this information with her. Express your desire to help her have a joyous—but safe— holiday season. Then, offer to provide assistance in helping her reduce these risks so she can focus on staying merry.

Here are some ways to address the risk areas I mentioned above:

  • Invest in electrical candles that mimic natural flames
  • Only use high-quality indoor lights and make sure to inspect each bulb carefully for cracks or other damage
  • Purchase an artificial tree Christmas tree made of flame-retardant materials instead of a live one
  • Don’t overload electrical outlets with splitters, extension cords, or adapters
  • Design a detailed escape plan in case of a fire —one that takes any mobility problems into account

Thanks so much for the question, Chris. I hope this information is helpful and that you and your family have a safe and happy holiday season.



Do you have a senior care question?

Donna loves to help caregivers with questions about their senior loved ones. But if you have a number of questions or have one that needs answered immediately, please contact us. We’d be happy to answer any senior care questions you have or arrange an in-person meeting at one of our senior living communities.