CAPE GIRARDEAU, MO (KFVS) - As we get older, experts say, it's important that we not only keep our bodies moving, but also our minds.
A study recently published in the "Journal of The American Geriatrics Society" shows older adults who keep exercising their brains stay sharp longer. Experts say doing things like answering trivia questions, making crafts, and playing cards really makes a big difference in older adults' overall health.
Residents at Auburn Creek Assisted Living in Cape Girardeau say they participate in these types of activities every day.
"You've got to keep yourself happy and [keep] doing things to keep yourself stimulated," Resident Barbara Wilson said.
Wilson said she used to have symptoms of dementia. That's when she got serious about keeping her mind active. She says if she didn't, her mind could start slipping again.
"Things get boring and your mind will start going down again and whoops! Trouble!" Wilson said.
The study shows elderly adults who stay mentally stimulated also stay sharp longer. The findings did not come as a surprise to Debbie Cicardi, an employee at The Arbors at Auburn Creek, which is a care center for dementia and Alzheimer's patients.
"It keeps them happy and motivated and keeps them out of bed," Cicardi said. "They need exercise and mental stimulation."
That's why she and other staff members plan activities that help prompt residents' memories and their minds.
"We do a lot of trivia and reminiscing," Cicardi said. "They talk about their family and the kinds of jobs they had."
"We are always doing something," Resident Judy Beussink said.
People at Auburn Creek say staying active also helps them stay positive.
"Don't feel gloomy about yourself," Wilson said. "If you feel bad, just keep on asking the lord for help and keep pushing."