How to Help Prevent Memory Loss
No matter what age you are, it’s normal to forget things occasionally. Yet when tearing around the house looking for your reading glasses becomes a frequent occurrence, you might wonder about ways to sharpen your recall and potentially prevent more serious memory loss. While there’s no magic pill to keep your memory strong, there are things that may help stave off memory loss. Incorporate these mind-boosting habits into your daily life to grow your mental acuity and boost your mood.
Challenge your brain
Maybe you’ve heard that brain games can help you stay sharp by keeping neural pathways active. While this is true, it’s variety that counts over frequency. If you play sudoku every day, for instance, you won’t see the same benefits as if you add in other activities. Challenge your brain through word searches, crossword puzzles, reading, board games, bridge and other card games, learning a new skill, or even trying a new route while driving.
Get your sleep
If you don’t get a good night’s sleep, you can experience temporary memory problems as a result of fatigue. Shoot for 7-9 hours of sleep per night to boost your alertness and recall.
If you struggle to get a good night’s sleep, avoid eating, smoking, or drinking liquor or caffeine close to bed time. Avoid computers and other screens in the bedroom, since their light can keep your brain awake.
Try to keep a regular schedule by going to sleep at the same time every night and waking up at the same time every morning. If you’ve been keeping an irregular sleep schedule, this can be a difficult switch, but it’s worth it for the improvements it will bring to your sleep, energy, and memory.
Manage chronic health conditions
If you have a chronic health condition, it can complicate your ability to remember things. Conditions renowned for their negative affects on memory include diabetes, sleep apnea, hypothyroidism, high blood pressure, and depression. Speak with your doctor about ways to manage your health better, so you can enjoy stronger memory.
If you’ve noticed recent memory decline, you may have an undiagnosed health condition. If it’s been a while since you have had your health checked, go to the doctor.
You might know that supplements play a role in keeping your brain healthy, but figuring out which supplements to take can be tricky. A good multivitamin covers your bases; however, if you’d prefer to take individual pills, consider taking vitamin C, vitamin E, folate, and a good B-complex.
Stress floods your body with cortisol, which affects your memory, sleep, mood, and quality of life. Find healthy ways to manage your stress, such as tai chi, meditation, yoga, massage, walking, reading, baths, and other pleasurable activities. Reducing stress can curb stress-related memory troubles and boost your overall health.
By staying physically active, you can boost the flow of blood to your brain, which could help your memory stay sharp. Strive for 150 minutes of moderate activity every week; break the activity up into small increments if you lack the time or energy for sustained activity. Keep it simple with walks, or add in challenging activities from dance to skiing.
Take a class
Learning something new can help you socialize, while challenging your neural pathways. As you learn a new language, new instrument, or new hobby, you will engage different pathways in the brain. This can directly affect your memory and recall; now, your brain has a new set of active pathways it can use to recall information.
It doesn’t matter what you learn so much as that it’s brand new to you. Choose from arts, sports, games, language, music, history, and more. Lifelong learning institutes offer classes tailored to older adults, as well as the chance to socialize with new people.
Organize your home
If you’re always misplacing things around the home, getting organized can help you find things and alleviate stress associated with searching for misplaced items. Clear out the clutter and give important things — for instance, glasses and keys — a place they always go. Place a notepad or dry erase board near the phone, so you can write down reminders of important things.
Feed your brain
What you eat plays a role in brain performance. To boost brain health, aim for a diet rich in vegetables and lean sources of protein, such as fish, poultry, or lean red meat. Healthy fats, such as avocado or olive oil, are good for the brain, as are omega-3 fatty acid supplements. Since alcohol can impair your memory and may interact with medications, be mindful of what you drink.
Move to a Retirement Community
In recent years, research has shown that loneliness negatively impacts quality of life for older Americans and causes adverse health affects. One of these is memory loss. If you really want to stay sharp, move to a retirement community that offers activities you enjoy. You’ll naturally socialize as you take part in your favorite hobbies, and the socialization can do wonders for your memory.
At Havenwood Heritage Heights, we offer continuing care in a community setting. Every level of care is available, and there’s even a memory care option. With games, gardening, a ski club, and a dance club, there’s so much to do. If you’re interested in learning more about Havenwood Heritage Heights, contact us today.