I have never fully understood the game of Sudoku. When I first heard about it, I was in seventh grade and a handful of kids in my math class were playing it. My understanding at the time was that each row had to add up to a certain amount. My seventh grade self didn’t have the time and put it on the list of things I’ll learn maybe some day when I’m older.
Fast forward eleven years and I’m on my way to a Cognitive Therapeutics session racking my brain for a new activity to stimulate the brain and increase engagement. Cognitive Therapeutics is a proprietary, evidence-based, and activity-based program that Home Care Assistance has to prevent the onset of new forms of cognitive decline, as well as slow the progression of existing symptoms. We facilitate activities that address the five primary domains of the mind:
- Memory: retaining information
- Executive Functioning: reasoning, problem solving, judgment, and thought flexibility
- Visual-Spatial Perception: perceiving an object’s location and understand relationship between objects
- Attention:focusing for a period of time while ignoring distractions
- Language: verbal functions, naming, reading, writing
This particular day, I wanted to focus on executive functioning. I brought some activities, but I also stopped by the store to see if there might be a new activity to try. I picked up a couple math workbooks and then I saw a Sudoku book. Remembering the seventh grade craze, I figured I would give it a shot.
Towards the end of the session, I pulled out the Sudoku book to much dismay from client. He didn’t like games, but said he would give it a try. We read through the directions together and worked together to start the first board. Instantly, I was hooked. Eleven years later I understood the seventh grade hype. This game was challenging, but fun.
I downloaded a Sudoku app on my phone and spent all my free time the next day solving the puzzles. More curious than ever about the game, I started researching the effects of Sudoku on the brain. What I found was amazing.
Sudoku has been endorsed by the Alzheimer’s Association as a brain game that helps slow the progression of the disease. Studies have shown that Sudoku can increase IQ, stimulate the mind, reduce chances of dementia, increase ability to concentrate, and increase overall happiness. It has even shown to keep brain cells from dying.
A lot of time, Sudoku is introduced in the elementary school setting for its positive effects in student functioning. However, elementary school isn’t the only time to give our brains a workout. We must make a lifelong commitment to continually improving our functioning. Just as we exercise our bodies, we should be exercising our brains. Not to mention it can be really fun and rewarding!
Sudoku can be purchased in paper form at almost any store and can be downloaded on a smart device for free under the App section. I would encourage everyone to give it a try this weekend and see if you notice higher functioning in the following week.
For more information about how we can help you or a loved one remain safe, healthy, and at home call us at (616) 243-0835 or visit our website.