Staying social may be a key to mental health

There has been a lot of talk about mental exercises being a good way for seniors to stay mentally fit during their golden years, but much of it has focused on the area of crosswords and other puzzles.

While Dr. Alan Mazurek admits that these activities can help exercise a brain, he recently told The Early Show that social interaction can be the most important contributor to staying sharp.

"Doing a crossword puzzle is solitary activity, a passive activity...

Staying social may be a key to mental health there's no response from the other side. If you get the wrong answer, it just lies there. If you're talking to someone, you're thinking of responses, how to follow up - the constant back-and-forth that that interaction stimulates is much more valuable," he said, according to CBS News.

He also suggested that the brain is like plastic, so activities mold its shape. If one wants to become better at certain things, such as math or reading, they have to exercise specific parts of it.

Those who are involved in Alzheimer's care may also want to consider encouraging patients to stay social and learn new skills, as experts agree that this can slow down the progress of dementia.

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