Completing the daily crossword puzzle has long been seen as a way for seniors to stay mentally sharp, but what about creating the puzzles themselves? If Bernice Gordon is any indication, it might be an even better option. Gordon, 99, has been creating new crossword puzzles every day since she had her first one published in The New York Times more than 60 years ago, and she has no plans of stopping any time soon, AARP reported.
Although there's no confirmation, Gordon is believed to be the oldest crossword constructor in the world. Her methods have changed over the years. Today, she creates all of her puzzles by computer and relies heavily on Google. The benefits are just the same and she says she's as sharp as ever.
"My head is clear," she told AARP.
There is a considerable amount of research to back up the anecdotal evidence offered by Gordon. Most recently, findings from scientists at the University of Texas - Dallas published in Psychological Science suggest that exercising one's brain may be the best memory care option there is. Researchers were interested in seeing whether mentally challenging activities, such as learning a new skill, offered greater cognitive benefits than more passive activities, such as listening to music. After analyzing a group of more than 220 adults between the ages of 60 and 90, researchers determined that the group engaged in more challenging activities experienced significant improvement to their memory.
"As a society, we need to learn how to maintain a healthy mind, we know how to maintain vascular and heart health with diet and exercise, but we know so little about maintaining cognitive health," said lead researcher Dr. Denise Park.