Memory Loss: Ways You Can Boost Brain Health for Seniors
As we age, we all notice some changes in our ability to remember things. Maybe you have walked into another room and cannot remember why. Perhaps you have trouble trying to recall a familiar name or word during a conversation. Memory loss and forgetfulness occurs at any age, but it seems to be more frustrating as we get older because of concerns of a loss of cognitive ability. In fact, a decline in memory ranks in the top fears people have as they get older.
So, what causes memory loss for some seniors while others stay sharp as a tack? There are two main factors: genetics and lifestyle choices. Luckily, our brains can create new cells and connections thus, continually change regardless of our age. This ability to grow and improve is called neuroplasticity.
Below are some tips to keep your brain properly stimulated, boost brain health, and slow memory loss.
Sleep & Nap
Our brain processes freshly learned information and stores it as memory while we sleep. Adults require between 7 to 9 hours of sleep for optimal physical and mental health. Research discovered that adults 65 and older, who take an hour nap performance better on cognitive tests compared to those who did not nap. A good night’s sleep and a nap are one of the easiest ways to boost brain health and memory.
Diet & Nutrition
The brain needs proper fuel to function at its best. Mediterranean and Ketogenic diets are shown to have a long-term positive impact on mental function and memory. It is important to avoid processed food, sugar, and trans fats. To fuel your brain and memory eat lutein (spinach & kale), celery, broccoli, walnuts, blueberry concentrate, cocoa, peppermint tea, avocados, cinnamon, and caffeine.
Physical Exercise- Sit Less, Move More
A healthy body helps with a healthy mind. Exercise decreases stress and helps to get a good night’s sleep. It also increases oxygen levels to the brain, improves blood flow, and encourage nerve cells to multiply all of which enhances cognitive function. Doctors recommend exercising at least 3 times a week. Start off slow with a 20-minute walk, gradually walk longer, add stretching, and some strength training.
Memory and cognitive skills can be strengthened with mental exercise just like muscles with physical exercise. It is important to challenge and stimulate the brain to keep it sharp. Sudoku, crossword puzzles, board games and card games are great way to boost your brain health. Other than games, another way to improve memory is by using tips, tricks, and shortcuts to help is remember information. These are referred to as Mnemonic Devices that helps us link what we want to remember with a word, image, or sentence.
Studies have revealed that it is crucial for older adults to stay social. There is a link between seclusion and a heightened risk of depression and dementia. Devoting time with friends and family and attending social events can help maintain and improve cognitive ability.
Master a New Skill
Find an activity that you think would be interest, enjoyable, and that is stimulating. Take an online course or class at a local senior center. Discover fun DIY projects, begin knitting, painting, woodworking, dancing, or learn to play and instrument. All of these new skills you can master are a great form of cognitive stimulation which is critical for improving memory and boosting your brain health.
Reading promotes longevity and is one of the easiest ways to stimulate your brain. Renew your subscription to the local newspaper or take a trip to the library. You can even read on your phone, tablet, or computer. It is a great way to stay informed and entertained while reducing memory loss.
Stress Management & Relaxation
We retain information and think clearer when we are calm and have mental clarity. Meditating, listening to music, doodling, or using aroma therapy are all ways to de-stress and improve memory. Exercise, yoga, or mediation for only 25 minutes a day have been found to boost brain function and have a positive effect on mood.