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Keys in the fridge, milk beside the bed?! Your guide to helping your brain navigate the day!

Sometimes the day gets away from you before it  even begins, or maybe your dad is finding himself lost in his home a little more each day. 

To navigate your way through the day your brain needs the ability to analyse, plan, understand and remember (amongst many other things!). But your brain is a muscle and it needs training and support to complete activities efficiently. Aspects of brain (cognitive) function include; 

  • Memory and learning: recall, implicit learning, recognition, immediate memory, recent memory, very long-term memory, autobiographical
  • Attention: Sustained attention, divided attention, selective attention, processing speed
  • Language: Expressive language (naming, word finding, fluency, grammar), receptive language
  • Visuospatial perception: visual perception, perceptual motor, praxis and recognition
  • Executive functioning includes: Planning, working memory initiation of task, decision making, working memory, responding to feedback/error correction, mental flexibility
  • Social cognition: Recognition of emotions, theory of mind, understanding what others may be thinking and feeling

There are different activities you can complete throughout the day by yourself or with your loved one. What’s best is to keep it consistent and varied. This allows the brain to keep active and challenged by new stimuli. These are some simple suggestions for each domain;

  • Memory and learning: Use internal memory strategies i.e. rhyme words, visually compensate, use external memory strategies i.e. calendar, timer, practice games, use technology, read/ watch a show and discuss after, rhythm matching, memory game
  • Attention: Reduce visual  and noise distractions, use sensory tools to promote attention, develop skills with games i.e. cards, listening activities i.e. finger tapping, computer games, puzzles, 
  • Language: Watch a show and answer questions about it, listening games, instruction games, origami, map reading, follow a recipe, tell someone a story
  • Visuospatial perception: Drawing/ craft, life games i.e. bowling, dot to dots/ colour by numbers, I spy, scavenger hunt, mirror game, building games, paper planes, sorting things
  • Executive functioning: Planning activity i.e. holiday, do a project, organise the home, strategy games, problem solving games, outdoor exploring
  • Social cognition: Emotion games, self-reflection, social practice and exploration, explore motivations and values, mirroring cues game

 

Navigating and understanding your brain can take some time, especially when it is going through transitions, stressors or aging. It is best to set yourself up for success and train your brain to work efficiently with physical supports as well.

 

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