November 1st, 2018
If youre a senior, you probably have experienced one (or all) of the following scenarios:
Memory losses can occur at any age, but they can be more upsetting as we get older because we fear a loss of intellectual function or the onset of dementia. Though aging can take a toll on the brain (it literally shrinks as we age, losing up to 10% of its size) most fleeting memory problems reflect normal changes in its structure and function. So, in other words, you can worry, just dont do it too much.
In fact, the best way to allay your frustrations and fears about the slowing down of cognitive functions is to take advantage of decades of brain research and utilize suggested strategies to protect and sharpen your mind.
ROUTINES THAT CAN HELP WITH MEMORY LOSS
If youre an active senior, you already have a leg up when it comes to maintaining overall body health (including your brain). But even if youre not as mobile as youd like to be, you can still benefit from many of these suggested activities.
*Exercise since the mind and body are interconnected, regular exercise can go a long way toward keeping your brain active and vital.
*Reading picking up a good book helps on two levels: information absorption and the building of connections within the brain.
*Eating Right good brain foods include nuts, fish and red wine.
*Quality Sleep a no-brainer, right? And if you have trouble sleeping at night, try to fit in a nap during the day.
*Painting or Drawing making a picture (even just a doodle) is an excellent workout for your brain.
*Puzzles & Games crosswords are a popular choice for a lot of seniors, but any game that challenges or stimulates intellectually is great. Or why not watch Wheel of Fortune or Jeopardy! on TV?
*Writing your name doesnt have to be Dickens, and you dont have to be writing the next best seller. In fact, even a letter to the editor or an email to a family member will do.
TOOLS THAT HELP TO KEEP THE MIND SHARP AS YOU AGE
Weve covered the reading, writing, and brain games basics of brain stimulation. But there are also basic ways of thinking and doing that can serve as great tools for honing your mental acuity.
Always be on the lookout for new ways to challenge your thinking whether its by enrolling in a class, or volunteering for a project.
Use All Your Senses
Listen to a style of music you havent heard of before. When youre at a restaurant, guess the ingredients of a new dish by smell and taste. Try your hand at sculpting (and close your eyes!)
Make Use of Repetition or a Mnemonic
Try repeating something youve just heard, read, or thought about, and then write it down. Or create a mnemonic device, like an acronym or a sentence (Every good boy does fine) to remember everything from musical notes to first-aid advice.
Believe In Yourself
This one might be most important of all. Dont fall into the trap of negative stereotypes about old people. If you start to believe that memory loss is inevitable, well guess what maybe it will be.
For an alternative from the Far East, why not try Mindfulness? Its not just a Buddhist thing anymore, and its much more than just meditation. Studies have shown that mindfulness activities may even slow Alzheimers. If interested, a good place to start is The Miracle of Mindfulness by Thich Nhat Hahn.