Kelley D. Hamilton of Bonaventure Senior Living on Keeping Memory Sharp

About

Kelley D. Hamilton has overseen the operations of the Bonaventure family of companies since 2001. Currently serving as Chief Executive Officer and owner of Bonaventure Construction, Kelley D. Hamilton coordinates all construction for Bonaventure Senior Housing in Salem, Oregon.

Kelley D. Hamilton Bonaventure Since Kelley D. Hamilton joined Bonaventure Senior Living as CEO, he has noticed one stand-out trait in those who stay mentally focused: They tend to suffer from dementia far less than their more passive peers. Today, Kelley D. Hamilton of Bonaventure Senior Living offers stimulating advice for keeping the brain as healthy as the body.

ZRYLW: Thank you for taking time to visit with us today.

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: It’s my pleasure.

ZRYLW: What types of activities can older adults do to keep their minds active?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Brain-stimulating games and puzzles are about the best thing you can do for memory and overall brain function.

ZRYLW: Like what?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Jigsaw and crossword puzzles, board games and Sudoku.

ZRYLW: Games? Really?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Yes, strategy games, especially those that require thinking ahead, are a wonderful way to keep the brain vital. Chess is one of the best for this because it requires the brain to work on so many levels.

ZRYLW: What about reading?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Absolutely. Books and magazines on subjects that you consider interesting will keep you focused, educate, and rouse your brain.

ZRYLW: These are all individual activities. Can brain training be done in a group setting?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Yes, that’s actually even better.  Those who are social tend to have better cognitive skills later in life. Talking to people keeps your mind thinking, which is great for the brain.

ZRYLW: We’ve heard that math can be a great mind activity as well?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Yes, math, science; anything that makes you really think and apply logic.

ZRYLW: Are diet and exercise factors?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: How you eat and whether or not you stay fit affects every area of the body including the brain.

ZRYLW: Many seniors, especially those in stressful environments, seem to suffer from forgetfulness more than others. Is there a connection?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Too much stress on any part of the body will weaken it. The brain is no different. One thing we emphasize at Bonaventure is keeping a positive attitude and staying active both physically and mentally.

ZRYLW: Is there any sort of brain game that you can do without special equipment?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: One of the most amusing games involves telling an entire story in just seven words.

ZRYLW: Can you give us an example?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: You could say something along the lines of “The pumpkin was picked by two children.”

ZRYLW: And how is that helpful?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: When you reduce a story to its bare minimum, your brain has to actually consider all the factors surrounding the events and figure out exactly what words will convey the most accurate depiction of what happened.  Additionally, the story can spawn additional conversation and mental stimulation imagining the surrounding events.

ZRYLW: That makes sense.

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Another activity that we encourage our memory care residents to do is using their non-dominant hand every once in a while.  For example, if you’re right handed – try using your left hand for throwing a ball, or writing your name.

ZRYLW: Isn’t that difficult?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: It can definitely take some getting used to, but it becomes easier as the day progresses. This sounds really simple but it actually forces the brain to go out of auto drive and work for each movement.

ZRYLW: We hear there are television programs devoted to brain health?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: There are a few including the PBS DVD Brain Fitness With Peter Coyote. Most video game consoles also have games that will stimulate the brain. Tetris is a classic and probably one of the best out there due to its simple, but progressively challenging style.  We also incorporate Wii Bowling in many of our Bonaventure communities, which is fun for seniors and works both the body and mind.

ZRYLW: Technology has made it easier to keep the brain going strong, right?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: I could not have said it better myself.

ZRYLW: Before we go, do you have any final tips for our readers?

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: Getting a good night’s sleep is paramount to proper brain activity. Also, doing art projects, learning a musical instrument or foreign language, or even browsing the dictionary for obscure words every day can really help.

ZRYLW: That is all great advice.  Thank you for joining us and sharing these tips!

Kelley D. Hamilton, Bonaventure Senior Living: You’re very welcome, thank you for having me.


Leave Your Response

* Name, Email, Comment are Required