Hills District Independent JUNE 2017 #24 - Page 30

seniors Make the most of senior years with a healthy mind While there is plenty of discussion about continuing physical activity as we age to boost muscle tone, ward off osteoporosis and keep joints supple, exercising the mind is equally as important. From social engagement to musical endeavours, excursions to creative pursuits, there isn’t a reason mental stimulation should slow down for healthy seniors – and the jam-packed activity schedule at leading aged care provider Cranbrook Care Bella Vista Gardens is testament to that. Each of Cranbrook Care’s aged care residences has a dedicated on-site Leisure & Lifestyle team that is solely focused on keeping residents active, engaged, socialising and involved, whether through on-site activities, day trips or joint ventures within their local communities. “From exercise to group games, arts and crafts to in-house concerts, history discussions to local outings, maintaining social connections and keeping the mind alert are essential tools to making the most from the retirement years,” said Ms Kerry Mann, CEO of Cranbrook Care. “In addition to enjoying physical activity, which we cater for through Tai Chi, yoga and other exercise classes as well as hydrotherapy pools for water- based movement, we encourage our residents to enjoy mental challenges through crossword puzzles, Sudoku and problem-solving activities, as well as facilitating plenty of social interaction, both with other residents on-site and between our residents and friends, families and the broader communities in 30 ISSUE 24 // JUNE 2017 which we operate,” explained Ms Mann. “Our experience demonstrates that a healthy frame of mind, positive attitude and strong social connections are critical not just to our residents’ enjoyment of their senior years, but to their physical wellbeing as well,” she added. Research suggests that participating in social activities and interacting with others exercises brain cells and strengthens the connections between them, ensuring the brain can stay healthy and keep working for longer. Deb Cormack, Director of Care Services, Bella Vista Gardens agrees, saying: “We know specifically designed programs can ensure an individual remains physically active and strengthen their mind in their later years.” “Staying physically and mentally active, eating well and maintaining connections are the key aspects to ensure happiness and good health during our latter years, and this can be achieved through simple steps such as daily walks, reading, playing games with others and keeping in touch with friends and family,” said Ms Cormack. Ms Cormack recommended opening the mind to new activities, especially those that are beneficial for both the mind and body at once, such as yoga and tai-chi or group-based exercises, and suggested stimulating the brain by keeping up, or learning new activities such as chess and bridge or joining a choir and learning to sing. For more information, please visit: www.cranbrookcare.com.au Crossword puzzles help keep the mind active. The beautiful grounds of Bella Vista Gardens encourage residents to exercise and socialise outdoors. www.hdinews.com.au THE hills INDEPENDENT