Memory loss is a natural part of aging. Most of us will go through it to some degree during our lifetime. It can be as minimal as forgetting where you placed your car keys, or something more consequential, such as forgetting to take medication or attend an important appointment. No matter what level of memory loss you might experience, it’s still a difficult thing to deal with as it relates to everyday life.
Luckily, there are a variety of simple ways you may be able to keep your mind sharp and stave off natural memory loss. You can do many of these things for fun in your spare time and in your own home.
What You Can Do to Slow Memory Loss
- Don’t Stop Learning – Research has shown the brain is capable of learning well into old age. Learning new things creates new neuropathways, strengthening the brain’s overall function. Try reading a new book every so often, planting a garden or playing a musical instrument to challenge your brain and foster continued cognitive growth.
- Exercise Your Brain – Much like your body’s muscular retention, when it comes to your brain you also must “use it or lose it.” Simple ways of working out your brain that can help with memory include fun activities like crossword puzzles, chess or checkers, jigsaw puzzles or any number memory games available for download on smartphones or tablets.
- Get Physical Exercise – It’s important to get your muscles moving in addition to your brain. Physical exercise, even basic calisthenics like a brisk walk, will improve circulation throughout your body, including blood flow to the brain. Something to consider – learning a new dance can provide excellent exercise while you also learn something new.
- Get Plenty of Sleep – Getting the right amount of sleep is great for your overall health, but it’s just as important for your cognitive functions. The brain works at a higher level when it’s better rested and sleep is crucial for memory consolidation. It’s recommended the average adult gets anywhere from 7 to 9 hours of sleep per night.1
- Eat Well – There are a lot of benefits to eating certain foods when it comes to memory and overall brain function. Try and stick to fruits, vegetables, whole grains and foods high in omega-3s, like certain types of fish and nuts. Do your best to avoid saturated fats, calories and excessive alcohol consumption as it’s known to kill brain cells.
- Socialize – Getting out and socializing can help keep your brain engaged. In addition, health experts agree that laughter aids with memory as it engages many more regions of the brain than other emotions. Listening to jokes and punchlines is believed to engage the same parts of the brain as learning and creativity does.
- Get Organized – Keep well-documented planners, calendars and notes for yourself, in addition to putting items back in the same place each time you’re done using them. This will help you avoid having to focus on the small, everyday things so you can concentrate on retaining new information and making new memories.
- Concentrate on Focusing – The ability to focus and pay attention to detail are two memory-related brain functions that begin to dwindle as we age. Making a conscious effort to improve focus and attention to detail can be done by avoiding distractions while concentrating, incorporating other senses into the learning process and rehearsing or reciting what you’ve already learned.
- Properly Manage Health Conditions – You may have noticed a theme throughout; that your overall health is directly correlated to the health and proper function of your brain. You should try to do what you can to remain healthy, but it’s also important to treat existing medical conditions as needed. Diabetes, depression, high blood pressure and thyroid problems have been linked to poor memory, focus and overall brain health.
Stay Healthy and Live Comfortably
Keeping our minds and bodies healthy is priority number one for many of us as we grow older. We all want to continue enjoying the things and people we love. At Twin Lakes Community, we understand that discovering new things, socializing, staying active and living an overall healthy life can do wonders for the mind and body. If you have questions about how you or a loved one can reap the benefits of community living, contact us 336-538-1500 or online to schedule a community visit.