Do you know how to read a map? Most people do. It’s one of those basic skills that are taught in grade school. Of course, like any skill, if you don’t use it very much it can be confusing at times. Today, even though there’s an international standard for how maps are drawn and the legends that are used, maps found on the Internet, such as Google Maps, won’t have all of the same information. Still, sitting down and reading a paper map can be a great senior care activity.
How could reading a map be a positive senior care activity? It’s actually quite simple. When you have to read a map, what is the one key muscle that you’re going to need to rely on?
The brain. It’s another powerful activity that the senior could do that will also help them get the right mental exercise.
Reading a map isn’t quite like doing a crossword puzzle or trying to solve math problems. However, when you’re trying to determine what the best route is to take, when you’re trying to find a certain town, you have to work through a number of problems. Perhaps you have a detailed fold-out map of the United States and you ask your loved one to find a few different small towns across the country.
They could spend their time trying to go through every single dot on the map, reading all of the town names, but that will not only get boring after some time, it could actually be fruitless and it could cause eye strain and headaches.
The best strategy would be to look at the index on the back, look up the city, and find the coordinates. Most maps are broken down into segments, or quadrants. Numbers along one direction (horizontal or vertical) and letters along the other. The index will help the senior narrow down the box in which to look for the city or town they want. This will also cause them to have to work through a linear problem, which is a great way to keep their mind sharp and strong.
Even if they aren’t planning on traveling anytime soon, this could be a good exercise. If they are planning a trip, this is a great way to help them become familiar with the route and what’s around the area. The second week in April is Read a Road Map Week and that makes this a wonderful senior care activity.