Have you ever entered a room but don’t remember why? Or, did you forget a familiar name when you came across a friend in the grocery store? Don’t worry; you aren’t alone. We all have “our senior moments” at times.
Memory slips can occur at any age. Most people believe that cognitive decline is an unavoidable part of growing older, but it just isn’t the case. There’s a variety of factors contributing to the loss of memory, and lots of them can be rectified easily and are preventable.
While we all know that cognitive decline and memory loss are aggravating, there’s some good news! It was discovered in scientific research that as you age, you can keep your mind sharp by making some lifestyle changes. These are some tips you can follow immediately:
Physical and mental health goes together, so anything that is good for your body; it’s usually good for the brain, too. Staying active, even if it’s just by taking daily walks, is imperative to keeping your mind sharp in old age.
As a matter of fact, it’s been discovered by researchers that the blood flow in your arteries is improved by the impact of your foot on the ground while walking. The increased flow of oxygen and blood to the brain develops the brain health and that of your heart and other organs.
Let’s look at some fun ways through which you can stay active as you grow older:
- Tai chi and yoga
- Water aerobics and swimming
- Hiking or nature walk
- Strength training (a key to healthy bones and joints)
- Golf playing
Keep Your Brain Sharp by Adjusting Your Diet
It’s well known that nutrition plays an essential role in aging more intelligently. Indeed, a poor diet is a principal factor in physical illnesses and chronic mental illness. The challenge comes from the fact that a lot of us consume meals containing high sugar, processed foods, empty carbohydrates, and bad fats content. This results in a series of problems with increasing age, from weak cognitive function and swelling all over the body to untimely aging of the skin.
Fortunately, there’s a simple solution to these problems. Eat a diet high in nutritious food, like whole grains, fresh fruits and veggies, and lean protein (particularly fish), as well as healthy fats such as avocados, olive oil, nuts, and seeds.
A healthy diet, like the Mediterranean Diet, has been associated with better brain health and a lower risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Here are some essential foods that you should frequently add to your diet:
- Salmon and other fatty fish: Supplies omega-3 fatty acid, which is essential for the health of the brain and reduction of inflammation all over the body.
- Green tea: Supports mental concentration. Also, it contains antioxidants that can reduce the possibility of neurodegenerative diseases such as Alzheimer’s.
- Berries: Has a high proportion of antioxidants, which improves brain health, decreases inflammation, and slows down temporary memory loss.
- Eggs: Has a high content of nutrients that supports the health of the brain, such as choline and vitamins B. Choline is very important because it’s used in the creation of neurotransmitter acetylcholine, essential for memory and mood regulation.
Regularly Stimulate Your Brain
In a scientific study in the journal of neurology publication, it was discovered that though there isn’t a cure for dementia, you can slow down its progress through intellectual stimulation. Those who regularly read, write, create art, and play games experience mental deterioration much more slowly than those who don’t.
Below is a few ways fun to motivate your brain and keep learning:
- Become a member of a book club to encourage regular reading.
- Spend time with your grandchildren and read stories to them using FaceTime.
- Subscribe and read magazines that pique your interest.
- Take time to write in a journal daily and read a lovely book.
- Play games; do thought-provoking puzzles like scrabble, chess, Sudoku, and trivia.
- Pick up painting, drawing, or play an instrument. There are many tutorials on YouTube from which you can choose. You can sign up for a course or lesson or even color in an adult coloring book if you enjoy doing that.
- Learn a new language.
- Consider finding a hobby that you enjoy doing like gardening, photography, cooking, or swimming to revitalize your routine and keep up your brain and body activeness.
Make Getting Healthy Sleep a Priority
Sleep deprivation can result in problems with moods, memory, and focus, no matter your age, whether 2 or 82 years. As stated by the National Sleep Foundation, new skills and memories are shifted to a different part of the brain during sleep, making them easier to access. This is why sleep is especially important to keep your memory alive in old age.
If you’re an adult below 64, each night, aim to get seven-nine hours of quality sleep. Seven to eight hours is enough for people over 65.
The following are a few ways to make sure you get the healthiest sleep possible:
- Avoid stimulants like chocolate, coffee, cigarettes, and soda 4–6 hours before bedtime
- Before going to bed, avoid eating heavy foods. Heavy foods can trigger digestive problems and prevent you from sleeping. Try sticking to light snacks like vegetables, fruits, and nuts late in the evening.
- Set up a regular bedtime habit. Every day, sleep and wake at the same time, including weekends.
As you age, you can keep your brain healthy and sharp through social interaction. In fact, studies have shown that older adults who regularly socialize have a 70% slower rate of cognitive decline than people who don’t. This is quite significant!
The chance of Alzheimer’s is also higher even for lonely seniors. This is because social interaction keeps the brain active and protects it from memory problems. By merely maintaining personal connections and making new ones, you can prevent loneliness and its adverse effects on your mental health.
Attend a class or join a club; do volunteer work in your community, or find other ways to engage in group activities as you grow older to sharpen your mind.
In a Nutshell
Unfortunately, there’s no means of undoing Alzheimer’s or dementia. But the good thing is, you can slow down the decline or avoid it by indulging in certain activities. A healthy, active lifestyle is a good start. And, don’t ignore the importance of challenging your brain and spending time with others to maintain your cognitive health into old age.
With Gratitude and Love