In 2005, Ohio State University researchers reported that older people who exercised regularly were more likely to maintain the mental acuity they needed to do everyday tasks like follow a recipe and keep track of the pills they take. Some of the recommended mental activities for older people included crossword puzzles, trivia games, Scrabble, card games, and projects, such as fixing appliances and cooking.
Rather than getting frustrated with the changes in the speed and mental agility of older people, challenge them to think and help you. Reframing your interactions with the goal of helping the older person feel confident and capable (remember the effectiveness of active intentions) will help her become healthier rather than feeling her age.
Remember, too, that mood disorders are a common, but often undiagnosed, problem in older people. Physical activity as well as relief from boredom can help prevent and cure the symptoms of depression, anxiety, grief, and insomnia that affect one in five older Americans.