As people age, one common complaint is memory loss. This isn’t only true of seniors who suffer from illnesses such as dementia. Many seniors find that their memories deteriorate over time. There are certain ways to prevent, minimize, or even reverse this problem. Learn about 5 memory improving techniques that can be used for seniors and improve their well-being!
1. Challenge the Brain
In some ways, the brain is like a muscle; the more it’s used, the stronger it gets. One problem that many older adults face is that they let their minds get sluggish. By staying mentally active, it’s less likely that you’ll suffer from memory loss. Reading is a good way to keep the mind sharp. Another is to do games and puzzles. There are many ways to do this now, from phone apps to puzzle books. For example, Nancy Linde has written a few books in this genre, such as 399 Games, Puzzles, & Trivia Challenges Specially Designed to Keep Your Mind Young. Even playing popular games such as chess, checkers, backgammon, and many card games help to keep the brain working.
2. A Healthy Diet
Eating a healthy diet is one way to improve memory and other brain functions. Certain foods, such as leafy green vegetables, fish, and whole grains are helpful for promoting brain function. These foods are good for the overall health of seniors as well. In particular, a Mediterranean Diet is beneficial for the memory. This diet includes many fresh vegetables and fruits and is low in dairy and red meat. This type of diet is also rich in healthy fats, from seafood and olive oil. Omega-3 fats are good for the heart as well as the brain. On the other hand, foods that are heavy in saturated or trans fats contribute to LDL or bad cholesterol, which is harmful to the brain as well as the heart.
3. Regular Exercise
There’s evidence that exercise benefits the brain as well as the body. Even mild exercise such as a 30-minute walk every day makes a big difference. Research shows that aerobic exercise stimulates the hippocampus, the part of the brain involved with memory and learning. Depending on the physical condition of the senior, other exercise routines are also helpful, including weight training, tai chi, bike riding, and swimming. If seniors are able to turn it into a social activity, walking or doing other exercises in pairs or groups, it’s even better.
4. Encourage Socializing
One of the biggest risk factors for memory loss in seniors is social isolation. In fact, the lack of a social network increases the risks for dementia by 60%. Many older people nowadays live alone, far from any family or friends. Relatives can help to alleviate this situation by visiting as often as possible. Also encourage seniors in your life to attend social events and join classes, book clubs and other social activities. The internet and social media are also useful in this way. With technology such as Skype and other video chatting platforms, it’s possible to have virtual visits with people who live far away. Teaching seniors how to use the latest devices and messaging apps can go a long way towards keeping them socially connected.
5. Moderate Consumption of Alcohol
While it may seem counter intuitive to recommend drinking alcohol to preserve memory, there’s evidence to support this. In a study published in Age and Ageing, it was found that people age 75 and older reduced their risk of dementia by 60% by consuming two to three alcoholic beverages per day. Of course, drinking excessively has health risks, including dementia. Therefore, anyone with a tendency towards substance abuse is better off not drinking at all. However, for those who are able to drink moderately, this is another possible strategy to prevent memory loss.