Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place

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Jul 18, 2023


Florida - Sarasota, Bradenton & Charlotte Counties , Florida - Southwest

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When it comes to your brain health, it’s never just one thing that can have a positive or negative impact. There are a lot of different factors that can play into brain function and cognitive ability. Genetics, physical health, lifestyle, stress, and even diet all play vital parts in our overall brain health.  

As such, it’s important to educate yourself on how to maintain brain health. Being aware of early warning signs can help you catch and address issues before they arise or get too serious, helping you keep your mind sharp and functioning well. Here are a few valuable things to remember. 

Let’s get physical

We all know how important physical activity is for our bodies and general health. It keeps our muscles, bones, and ligaments in the best possible condition, helping us stay fit and mobile. It also helps prevent injuries and disease. But did you know that physical activity is also good for your brain? 

More and more studies show that physical exercise can have several positive impacts on the brain. From increasing metabolism within the brain itself (which may reduce chances of Alzheimer’s), to engaging brain networks that maintain old connections while helping create new ones, as well as enhancing the regions of the brain vital to learning and memory. 

Current guidelines recommend a minimum of two and a half hours of exercise per week (though about 45 minutes/day is ideal), which of course can vary depending on your capacities. Talk with your healthcare professional and decide what works best for you. Walks with friends, family, or a pet are a great option — or swimming at the local pool, yoga, pickleball, whatever it is you enjoy, are all great ways to keep your mind and body fit. Don’t forget to start slow and take safety precautions so you can avoid any injuries. 

Reduce stress

There’s no avoiding stress. It’s a part of all our lives and comes from a variety of sources. While you may not be able to avoid stress completely — there are ways of managing it. 

Chronic stress can lead to adverse effects on your brain health. It can lead to anxiety, which can have a severe negative impact on your day-to-day life. Stress and anxiety can affect sleep, appetite, the immune system, and more. It is also known to have adverse repercussions on memory and cognitive function, as well as escalating the risk for Alzheimer’s, other forms of dementia, and mental health disorders like depression. 

Fortunately, there are many ways to manage stress. Journaling is a popular one, as is exercise, meditation and mindfulness exercises, or enjoying simple comforts like reading a book, catching up with a friend or a cup of tea. Find the stress relievers that work best for you, and make them a daily part of your life. 

Brain food

You’ve likely heard the old saying, “ are what you eat”. Well, it’s an old saying for a reason. The healthier your diet, the better your chances are of leading a long and healthy life, both physically and mentally. Not only will a healthy and nutritious diet make your body feel good, it’s good for your brain. A balanced diet can help keep your blood pressure level down as well.

Studies have shown that a healthy diet can help resist the onset of Alzheimer’s, and the Mediterranean diet has also shown evidence of lowering your chances of getting dementia. A healthy diet can also maintain cognition, so it works double time. 

Exercise your brain

The brain is a muscle, and, like any other muscle, it must be exercised. Okay, well, half of this is true. Your brain is not, in fact, a muscle. It’s an organ. It does, however, need to be exercised like a muscle. 

Brain teasers, exercises, and games have shown evidence of keeping your mind in tip-top shape. Doing so can not only help you maintain cognitive ability, it can help resist and avoid loss in function and capability. They can also help offset the potential for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Have you tried Wordle? Check it out! It's a quick and fun word game that you can place once per day. 

If games aren’t your thing, don’t worry! There are a lot of ways to engage your mind in healthy and fun ways: reading, listening to music, crafts, creating art (playing music, painting, writing, etc.), socializing, doing puzzles, and much more. Whatever your favorite way is to exercise your mind, do it regularly and often. 

Your mind is one of the most important things you possess. It’s a vital part of your overall health and wellbeing. Taking care of it is a great way to take preventative measures against brain and mental health illnesses and disorders. And as with most healthy habits, a multi-faceted approach is the best way to manage your brain health. There isn’t any one thing that will keep your brain healthy and thriving, but like your brain, its health is dependent upon a lot of little things working in concert that create a robust and capable mind as we age.


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Cognitive health is something that we tend to take for granted, but its what allows us to think clearly, learn, and remember. These are all important in our everyday function, but as we age and our bodies begin to change, our brains change as well. Some parts of the brain, including those used in learning and other complicated mental activities, begin to shrink. Blood flow in the brain may decrease, and communication between neurons may become less effective. Even in healthy older adults, these changes can begin to affect our cognitive function, making us slower to recall names and remember words, causing us to struggle with multitasking and diminishing our ability to pay attention. In people with Alzheimers or dementia, this loss of cognitive abilities is progressive.While there isnt a cure for cognitive decline yet, studies indicate there may be a link between brain games and improving cognitive abilities. The research may be inconclusive, but more medical experts are recommending brain games to slow down or prevent senior memory loss. Just as physical exercise keeps your body in shape, certain games and puzzles can keep your brain active and healthy.Five Ways Brain Games and Active Learning Benefit SeniorsBrain games help slow down age-related mental decline.Many seniors experience an age-related mental decline with slower reaction times, diminished vocabulary and a memory that isnt as sharp as it used to be. This is all par for the course of living a long, happy life. However, brain games and active learning can help reengage and improve a persons thinking skills. Its especially helpful if you vary the games played to promote learning new skills, words or trivia facts.Brain games help seniors stay connected with loved ones.Wondering what to do with an aging loved one in your care? Try playing a brain game the whole family can enjoy. Not only will you be giving their brain health a boost, but youll also get the chance to connect with your loved one in a meaningful way. You can include a wider network of friends and family by connecting through a video chat app on your smartphone or tablet while playing online brain games.Brain games can help alleviate senior stress and anxiety.Finishing a crossword puzzle or playing a board game can help ease feelings of stress or anxiety. Playing games is good for the mind and soul, as it keeps people socially active with friends, family or others in their community. Being more social helps eliminate or reduce the feelings of loneliness or depression many seniors face. Who couldnt benefit from a boost in their brain health, mood and social skills?Mastering new skills or games makes seniors feel engaged.Youre never too old to learn a new skill or master a new game. Finding new hobbies as we age is essential to our mental and physical health. If quilting, gardening or photography arent quite your senior loved ones speed, consider helping them explore a new language through the many learning apps on your smartphone or tablet. You can also try your hand at helping them learn a new brain game. Staying in a routine encourages passive brain participation. If we never push our boundaries and develop new cognitive skills, we may start to feel a disconnect with the world around us.Learning and playing games will keep you young at heart.If you want to stay young at heart, the secret is finding new ways to test your cognitive abilities. Its incredible how games that encourage active learning can make people feel younger and smarter while combating the feelings of boredom, restlessness or isolation plaguing todays seniors. Whether its an online version of Jeopardy! or a simple game of match the cards, you cant go wrong with games.Effective Brain Stimulating Games and Activities for SeniorsYou may be wondering whats categorized as a brain game when purchasing gifts for aging loved ones. The truth is that, while just about any game is better than being sedentary and watching television, not every game is effective for slowing cognitive decline. There are a number that allow you to stretch your brain, including:ChessA classic game of strategy, chess helps build logical reasoning and problem-solving skills. It may initially seem complicated, but learning how to play can strengthen cognitive function, increasing IQ and focus. Chess can be played in person or online.CheckersRecent research indicates that regularly playing checkers is connected to larger brain volume and improved cognitive health. Checkers can help improve hand-eye coordination, increase mental acuity, and alleviate stress. Because you play with other people, it can also help provide positive social interaction.ScrabbleScrabble is beneficial for every age group, but particularly for older adults, because it improves memory functions, lowers blood pressure and increases overall general wellbeing. It can be educational, too, because there are sometimes words you and your loved one didnt previously know.Word PuzzlesThere is evidence to suggest that playing games focused on language(Opens in a new window) may lead to improvements in memory, cognitive speed and verbal learning. These games include crosswords, word searches, anagrams, cryptograms, branded games like Mad Libs and online games like the recently released Wordle.Playing CardsCard games help people practice skills like reasoning, problem solving, memory and concentration. 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While these treatments show a lot of promise, science has not yet found a cure for these debilitating conditions. There is evidence to indicate, however, that stimulating the brain using certain games can be helpful.Recently, research was reviewed on the role of games in dementia care, looking at board games, video games, and virtual reality games. The review concluded that when people in the early and middle stages of dementia played these games, they saw improvement in a variety of cognitive abilities, including short-term memory, reaction time, problem solving, communication and logical reasoning. More research is needed, but there are some games believed to support a wide variety of cognitive skills for people with dementia.When choosing brain games for adults with dementia, it is important to select games suitable for the individuals cognitive abilities and preferences, carefully creating simple, familiar and non-frustrating experiences. 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The Role of Superfoods, Vitamins, and Supplements in Preventing Dementia

Florida seniors and their families worry about memory, cognitive issues, and dementia. And rightly so.Columbia University research finds that 1 in 10 seniors over 65 have dementia, with another 22% having mild cognitive issues. Scientists are working hard to understand and treat dementia, with more than $3.7 billion being spent on Alzheimers, a type of dementia, in the US this year.But what can you do to help yourself and senior loved ones in the fight against dementia?Many studies focus on the science-backed advantages of superfoods, vitamins, and supplements in preventing dementia in seniors. 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By understanding these dementia behaviors and implementing the right strategies, we can provide more effective care and maintain the highest possible quality of life for our loved ones. However, deciding the best care options and senior living communities for your loved one with dementia can be overwhelming. Let us help.At Florida Senior Consulting, we work daily with seniors in all stages of life, from independent living to assisted living to aging at home and those needing memory care.We are a Florida-based company with expert knowledge of the Florida senior market, including memory care. While senior options and decisions can seem confusing, this is all we do. We have certified staff, professional nurse advocates, and decades of experience in the field.If you or a loved one is experiencing dementia-related behaviors, let us help you navigate these challenging waters. Senior living should be on your terms, and the choice should always be yours.Call us, and we will answer all your questions and help you decide what is best for you or your senior loved one.For peace of mind, call us at (800) 969-7176 or visit us at

Boost Your Brain Power!

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Merrill Gardens at Barkley Place

Independent Living 36 Barkley Cir, Fort Myers, Florida, 33907

ENJOY MORE AT MERRILL GARDENS AT BARKLEY PLACEMerrill Gardens at Barkley Place is a beautiful community located in a quiet, charming neighborhood, with shopping, restaurants and local attractions just around the corner. From the beautiful sun porches, balconies, and landscaped grounds, to the fitness center, library, pool, and social gathering spaces, we offer premium amenities that help you live a full life.We understand our residents want to do the things they love the most, and every day here is filled with activity and possibility. We have been serving Fort Myers area residents for more than 20 years. We stand out among the otherindependentandassisted livingcommunities, because the dedicated, compassionate nature of our staff truly sets us apart.