Have you ever wondered if it's possible to improve your own, or another senior's memory? Good news - you certainly can!
Our memory forms a major part of who we are and it helps us accomplish both basic and complex tasks, every single day. As we get older, our brain function declines. This is a normal process, and it actually starts as soon as we enter our 20s. Because our memory forms such a big part of who we are and how we function, it's vital we keep our brain as healthy and fit as possible.
Thankfully, there are some proactive steps we can take to keep our brain healthy and reduce the risk of developing dementia or other mental conditions.
It's never too early to start boosting your brain - cognitive decline begins well before we notice symptoms of it! Thats why we've put together 8 tips to Boost Your Brain - here they are:
1. Stay Active
As we all know, staying active is an important part of staying healthy in many ways - including your mental health. Studies have shown that seniors who engaged in physical activities (such as using a treadmill or stationary bike for 1 hour, 3 times a week) resulted in higher resting blood flow to the brain.
In addition to that, physical activity releases endorphins - increasing your happiness. So try to keep moving, for example by adding a 30 minute walk to your daily routine!
2. Improve your Diet
A healthy diet is always beneficial for keeping your brain and body healthy.
Foods that are high in saturated and trans fats, such as beef, steak, dairy and fried foods, cause high levels of LDL cholesterol - which isn't good for your heart and brain.
To reduce the risk of memory loss and stroke, try to change your diet to foods that will increase levels of HDL cholesterol - such as fruits, vegetables, nuts and fish.
3. Get Enough Sleep
Sleep triggers changes in the brain that solidify memories, it strengthens connections between brain cells and it helps transferring memories from short-term to long-term memory. Therefore, getting enough hours of sleep is an important part of improving memory for seniors.
Between 6 and 9 hours of sleep every night is enough for most seniors - it's important to keep the sleep as undisturbed as possible.
Some tips to get better sleep:
- Avoid big meals before going to bed
- Avoid smoking and nicotine, and don't drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime
- Go to bed at the same time each night, and get up at the same time each morning.
4. Exercise your Brain
Just like physical exercise is good for your body (and many other things), mental exercise is good for your brain and memory.
Keeping your brain engaged with any mental challenging activities is helpful: watch a football game with friends, play a brain-training app or play cards.
5. Stay Social
Social interaction is good for many things: it helps improving your mood, and therefore your memory.
Regularly engaging in social activities and having stimulating conversations is one of the most effective ways to keep your spirits high and your mind and body engaged.
Invite family or friends to spend time together, or give them a call if they're far away. Staying social decreases the chances of developing depression and dementia.
6. Stress Less
No one likes to stress - unfortunately most of us experience some form of stress in our lives. Chronic stress is bad for your body, health and brain; high levels of the stress hormone cortisol make it harder to pull information from your brain's memory.
In order to avoid this, it's important to try to reduce stress as much as possible. Try different ways to relax - do what makes you relaxed and feel happy, try meditation, yoga or go for a massage.
7. Learn Something New
When you learn a new skill that involves hand-eye coordination, such as playing a new instrument or practicing a new hobby or sport, you automatically perform memory exercises. This has been found to improve cognitive function and memory - so keep your mind strong by trying new activities!
A positive extra is that learning new activities often gives people a sense of well-being as they age.
8. Get Your Health Checked
Last but not least, it's important to get your health checked regularly. Whilst some form of memory loss is common while ageing, sometimes there is an underlaying medical condition that causes memory loss. Examples of this could be:
- Vitamin deficiency
There are also certain medicines that may affect your ability to remember, such as sleep and anxiety drugs. Always see your doctor if your have any concerns.