THINGS TO DO IN 15 MINUTES
Take five full cleansing breaths, here is how. With eyes closed, sit straight and tall as possible, hands resting gently on knees, feet flat on floor pointed straight forward, hip width apart. Breathe in through the nose slowly for a count of 8, hold breath for a count of 4, breathe out through the mouth for a count of 8, hold empty for a count of 4. Repeat 5 times. Follow with quiet seated time experiencing the sense of good oxygenated blood flowing through your veins.
Breathing in this manner uses the full lung, relaxes the heart rate, improves blood oxygenation, and helps to relieve tension and muscle tightness in the ribcage and chest helping to increase lung capacity.
CUP BALL TOSS
Use one small ball, (tennis ball or smaller), and two plastic cups, coffee cups, or glasses. Place one cup in each hand and the ball in either cup. Pour the ball from one cup into the other cup. Continue this experience, slowly moving the cups farther apart and increasing the distance of the pour/toss. You may also increase the speed of transfer. Decrease the size of the ball as the senior becomes more experienced at the experience. To add an additional aspect, play music and time the toss/pours to the beat of the music. To expand on this experience, use a small round piece of fruit instead of a ball and then eat the fruit when the game is done. If it is citrus fruit, you will have added the element of aromatherapy to this experience! Citrus scents are considered invigorating.
This experience utilizes small and large motor skills, as well as requiring cross body work of both eyes and hands. It builds hand, arm and shoulder muscle strength, as well as hand-eye coordination
THINGS TO DO IN 15 MINUTES
AN ONGOING GAME OF CHESS OR SCRABBLE
For this experience you will need a Chess or Scrabble board, and a Scrabble dictionary. Find an empty table and setup a chess or Scrabble game.
Make a two sided card, on one side, write your name, on the other side, write your senior’s name. Make another card that says – I Win, on one side and, You Win, on the other.
Begin the game with the first word or move. Each person can play whenever they choose during the course of the day, but this game is not to be played by sitting down and playing together. It is to be played “in passing” only. When each person has finished their turn, they flip the two sided card to show their opponents name, and move away from the board.
A game might last weeks, or be finished in a day or two. Either way is just fine.
You are each trusting the other to be honest and follow-through. You are each allowing the other all the time necessary to consider their move or their word placement without stress or pressure or someone watching you.
When you reach a point where you have checkmate, or you are unable to play any more of your letter, place the other card on the board with the appropriate side up (either I Win or You Win). Once you have both seen and acknowledged the completion of the game, reset the board and begin again.
WAKE UP AND SMELL THE VANILLA
Changing habits by changing experiences. People have certain experiences that occur each and every day and therefore become ingrained in their memories and minds. Example: if you always use Irish Spring soap when you shower, smelling that fragrance will always make you think of showering. If you have been drinking coffee every morning upon waking for 50+ years, you will associate the smell of coffee with waking up and morning.
To create new neural pathways in the brain, habits must be broken by changing things up. So, choose several different fragrances of essential oils and place them on your senior’s bedside table. Ask them to sniff deeply of one of the oils, their choice, each morning. Some suggestions are Vanilla, Peppermint, Clove and Lemon. Ask them to do this before they do anything else, when they are first awake and have not gotten up yet, before the smell of coffee or their favorite soap.
(Essential oil bottles have special dropper tops and do not spill easily, so they are safe to use for this purpose.)
Be sure to ask them each day what oil they chose and what they thought of starting the day with that fragrance as opposed to their usual morning fragrances. There are no right or wrong answers to this question, only a recollection and sharing of their experience.
This is a neurobic exercise. Utilizing the sense of smell to stimulate neural pathways and aide Cognitive Function and Brain Fitness by exercising the brain.