Thursday, August 6, 2015
Over the years, we build cherished memories of our families, friends, milestones and experiences. But as we age, some of those memories may not be as sharp, and for some, they may completely fade away. The signs of memory loss may begin small – you may realize that you can’t remember your grandson’s birthday, you have placed your keys in the refrigerator, or you may find yourself momentarily staring blankly at a family photo that has sat for years on your fireplace mantel. Losing memory of even your closest relationships is heartbreaking for the person suffering from memory loss and their loved ones.
The good news is that there are things we can do to slow or even prevent memory loss. Researchers say there are ways we can keep our “cognitive vitality,” and this includes taking care of both mind and body.
Tips for Keeping Your Brain Young:
Learning shouldn’t end the moment your graduate from school. It’s important to treat your brain as a muscle, and just like all the muscles in your body, the more it’s exercised, the better it’ll work. Pursue a new hobby or skill, read every day, play chess, work on puzzles, take a class on a topic that interests you, volunteer, or take up writing. Many colleges offer special programs for those over 65. Life is full of opportunities for you to learn something new, so make lifelong learning a priority.
Regular physical exercise – moderate activity for 30 minutes, three to five times a week – can help your mind stay sharp. Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, allowing better brain function. Researchers also claim that exercise may help new brain cells grow. Find a walking buddy and take strolls around your neighborhood. If the weather is bad, walk indoors at the mall. You can try other exercises such as dancing, cycling, swimming and gardening. Find out about free exercise programs at your local senior center. Arizona Priority Care hosts weekly Tai Chi classes for students of every level in Casa Grande and Sun Lakes. Call (480) 336-7405 for more information.
Get Enough Sleep
While some may think sleep is for the weak, all those years of sleep deprivation may catch up to you in your later years. Studies have linked constant sleep deprivation to the onset of many cognitive impairment diseases, including Alzheimer’s. Getting between 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night keeps your brain working well and refreshed in the morning.
De-stress Your Life
Stress can make it hard to concentrate, learn or remember and can increase depression. Prayer, exercise and meditation are good ways to unwind and relax.
Socializing with other people gives your brain a boost and also helps prevent depression. Meet new people and get to know others by keeping an active social life. Join a club, a prayer group, or go on a group excursion tour. Arizona Priority Care hosts Senior trips and activities for our members through our Senior Advantage Club. Call 480-336-7405 for more information.
What you eat can boost brain power. A diet low in saturated fats found in fried foods, beef, pork, butter and cheese, but rich in fruits, vegetables and Vitamin B can help keep your brain sharp. Two weekly servings of fish – particularly tuna, salmon, sardines and mackerel – will increase your omega-3 fatty acids, fats good for brain development.
Lastly, always consult your primary care physician on anything to do with your health and talk to your healthcare provider on ways you can improve your “cognitive vitality.”