There are many changes we experience as we age. One of those often discussed is change in memory. And while changes in our memory and cognitive function are normal, there are some proactive steps you can take to keep your memory sharp and cognitive function high. That approach includes these four tips:
1. Be Healthy
Controlling cholesterol levels and managing blood pressure are both ways to decrease the risk for heart disease and stroke. Both of these contribute to your chance of developing certain types of dementia. Having healthy blood sugar, quitting smoking, and not drinking excessively also mean better overall health. Healthy heart, lungs, and blood flow = healthy brain.
2. Exercise Regularly
Physical activity maintains blood flow which again, promotes the nerve cells in the brain to function better. At Walker Methodist, we promote healthy movement with all our residents in a variety of ways. We have fitness centers in many of our communities. Research shows regular aerobic exercise appears to boost the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain involved in verbal memory and learning. Exercise is always a good idea. Aside from cognitive support, it also boosts energy, improves balance, and builds strength.
3. Include Omega-3s in Your Diet
People who eat fish once a week have a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease. The reason? DHA, a type of omega-3 fatty acid found in the brain, and in fish like salmon, tuna, and cod helps the memory cells of the brain better communicate. Not a fish fan? Try eggs, peanut butter, milk, peanut butter, walnuts, kale, or oatmeal. Skip saturated fats and refined carbohydrates to really let your brain food do its trick.
4. Stimulate Your Brain
The brain is a muscle. If you don’t use it, you might lose it. Learn new skills. Increase and maintain social interaction. Challenge yourself daily. We blogged last month about the importance of social programming for seniors, and for good reason. The rate of cognitive decline for older adults is reduced by as much as 70% in individuals who are frequently socially active. Regularly doing brain-stimulating activities such as reading, writing, puzzles, crosswords, Sudoku, and even card or board games will keep the brain flexed.
How Walker Methodist Supports Cognitive Function
Our mission is Life. And all the living that goes with it. Enhancing the lives of older adults through a culture of care, respect, and service. Our care, respect, and service directly promote memory care, and the four tips to keep memories sharp listed above are also supported within our communities. It would be our honor to partner with you on your journey towards attaining a sharper memory. We have a range of care programs and communities that place emphasis on resident health and living life as wholly as possible.
Exercise is a priority in every community. Events like music for movement, zumba class, walking club, and beanbag toss encourage activity as well as socialization. Our nutrition services take great pride in serving our residents healthy, well-prepared meals including salmon with citrus butter, grilled chicken breasts with vegetables, and coconut-crusted tilapia.
While significant memory loss is not normal, some diminished cognitive capacity is due to natural parts of aging. If you or someone you love is beginning to exhibit signs of memory loss that concerns you, seek help.