Concentration and attention are two of our most valuable qualities. They keep us focused in conversation, during work, and even during play. Unfortunately, concentration becomes more difficult as we age. However, scientists are not quite sure why concentration declines with age. It might be due to changes in brain activity and shifts in the brain’s frontal lobe. A research study at the Rotman Institute at Baycrest and the University of Toronto compared brain functioning in young, middle-aged, and older adults. Their findings confirm previous hypotheses. Concentration ability declines with age, particularly memory tasks.
Learn how to support an older adult in staying sharp as they age. If an older adult you know is working on a task that requires concentration, you can be helpful in facilitating their attention. Turn off all electronics. Beeping, buzzing, and ringing will certainly break someone’s concentration. If your older adult parent or friend is on a roll, working away for over 90 minutes, encourage him/her to take a break. Research demonstrates that 90 minutes is the perfect amount of time to remain productive in a state of high concentration. After 90 minutes, it’s important to take a short break away from the activity. Preferably, take time to do something physically active. Even if you stand-up from the computer, Sudoku, or crossword puzzle for only 10 minutes and do some light stretching, the important part is that you’re up and about. Before you begin an exercise routine make sure you check with your doctor.
The Doolittle Home’s approach to memory issues is unique. As a boutique retirement community, we are dedicated to individualized care. Our loyal and committed staff forms relationships with every resident and is sensitive to each resident’s particular memory level. Sometimes it is simple reassurance or assistance with the day of the week, a mealtime reminder or encouragement to join a group activity. We do not require all residents with memory limitations to live in a locked location of the home. We believe that keeping a person socially engaged and intellectually stimulated under supervision is the best response to loss of memory.
The Rotman Research Institute at Baycrest and the University of Toronto, reported in the February 2006 issue of the Journal of Cognitive Neuroscience, Vol. 18, No. 2.