The signs of dementia are not the same in everyone and it can be difficult to tell if changes are due simply to age or something more worrying. No one wants to discover them after their parent has had a car accident due to confusion.
Alzheimer’s Australia recommends crosswords and puzzles as a way to help seniors keep their focus and ward off the onset of dementia.
Catherine Eagleson of Clue Detective Puzzle Agency says “Until we can find a way to rid the world of this disease, all we can do is look after our brains and our health. We can lower the risk of dementia and delay its onset by focusing on different exercises and tasks so we exercise the entire brain. That will help us to keep our licences for as long as possible.”
Throughout this year there have been a number of incidents reported in the media which involved older drivers and accidents. Many of the smaller incidents have undoubtedly gone unreported. As the Australian population ages, it is anticipated that these incidents will become more frequent.
Research by the Centre for Accident Research and Road Safety (CARRS) shows that:
- senior adults aged 70 years or older experienced much greater rates of death in traffic crashes
- senior adults aged 75 years and older are considered most at fault in 80% of crashes in which they are involved
- senior drivers are most at risk of an accident because they lose their ability to manage complex tasks which require perception, judgement and reasonable physical capability
Ms Eagleson says “Developing good puzzling and brain habits early in life can help preserve your independence as long as possible. You will be able to sit confidently behind the steering wheel knowing that you have your full faculties available to you.”
In addition to physical exercise and participation in social activities, Ms Eagleson recommends choosing a variety of puzzle activities which include crosswords, codewords and Sudoku, strengthening word and numerical skills.
“The more often you do puzzles, the better your brain will function. You will see an improvement in your logic, decision making skills and the recognition of and response to what is happening around you, and that can only be good for your skills as a driver” she says.
For more information about Clue Detective Puzzle Agency please visit https://cluedetective.com/