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Keep a Healthy Mind

Keeping a healthy mind can prevent falls. Keep physically, mentally and socially active can protect an older adult’s mental health, reaction time and alertness to hazards.

Why should older adults keep a healthy mind?

Reduced cognitive function is associated with falls and injurious falls.

Assessment

Assessing cognition is common when screening for falls risk and there are many screening tools available. It can be difficult to recommend a set of screening tools for the recognition of dementia that are suitable for all older people in all situations.

How can I assist older adults to keep a healthy mind?

There are many easy and enjoyable activities that can help older adults to keep their mind active and healthy around the home and in the community. Any activity which works to stimulate the brain  and improve mental fitness will help to keep a healthy mind. Examples of activities to encourage include:

  • Participate in daily routines and activities
  • Keep socially active by joining a social group and engaging in the company of others
  • Boost memory by using memory triggers or memorising short lists
  • Take up a new hobby (e.g. playing an instrument, learning a new language, knitting, drawing, scrapbooking, writing or gardening)
  • Play games with the grandkids
  • Complete safe DIY projects
  • Complete crossword puzzles and word games
  • Read newspapers, books and magazines
  • Play thinking games like chess, scrabble or cards

Exercise

Physical activity maintains and enhances cognition across the lifespan. Participation in aerobic exercise and progressive resistance exercise provide specific benefits to the functional plasticity of brain regions responsible for executive functions including selective attention and conflict resolution. It is recommended that these types of exercise are incorporated into existing balance-focused falls prevention interventions.

See the Build Your Balance and Strengthen Your Legs pages for more information.

Social supports

Family and carers can play an important role in keeping a health mind by providing social support. Activities such as eating dinner together,

It is important for older adults to stay connected to the community. There are support options available including clubs and social support services;

Keeping alcohol consumption to a minimum is also important for older adults and falls prevention as it can slow reaction time, judgement, coordination and balance.

The Drug and Alcohol Office provide information of alcohol education and training options.

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Stay On Your Feet® is provided by Injury Matters and funded by the Western Australian Department of Health.

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Government of Western Australia Department of Health Injury Matters