Some loss of cognitive functioning through aging is normal, but decades of research has shown that it is possible to delay or prevent age-related memory loss through basic mental and physical activities. For some, cognitive decline and dementia will occur no matter what. However, keeping the brain healthy through regular mental stimulation, exercise, adequate sleep, and social interaction can reduce the likelihood of memory loss.
Consider turning the following four activities into habits to keep memory sharp.
- Mental Stimulation
Just as physical exercise keeps our bodies healthy, mental exercise helps to keep the brain in good shape. Reading, playing board games, doing puzzles, and playing a musical instrument are all fantastic ways to stay mentally stimulated. All of these activities require critical thinking and problem-solving skills, which are proven ways to boost cognitive functioning and memory capacity in the brain.
- Physical Activity
Physical activity can also help improve memory by increasing blood flow to the brain. Studies have shown that those who engage in regular physical activities are at a lower risk of contracting Alzheimer’s disease. Aerobic activities, such as jogging, brisk walking and dancing are fun, effective ways to stay in shape both physically and mentally. Experts recommend exercising for 30 minutes to one hour several times a week.
- Plenty of Sleep
Sleep plays a major role in memory retention and the brain’s ability to learn. A lack of sleep can impair one’s ability to concentrate and consolidate memories. To maintain sharp mental function, aim for 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night. Sleep specialists note that it’s best to avoid smoking, caffeine and alcohol before bed in order to achieve a restful night’s sleep.
It’s not uncommon for many seniors to live alone, which makes it all the more important to get out and socialize regularly. Social interaction has been proven to help fight depression, which is connected to memory loss. Making an effort to get together with friends and family members several times a month is essential for mental health in general, and can be instrumental in preventing memory loss.
Gallagher Home Care is a Medicare-certified home health agency that serves across 8 Pennsylvania counties. Our dedicated employees are trained to provide exceptional, compassionate care to seniors in a variety of circumstances, including those living with dementia. We provide house-keeping, home safety monitoring, and companion care, and even provide free in-home evaluations for new families. Request an appointment online or call (412) 453-8082 to learn more.