Although there are quite a few myths about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia care floating around out there, it’s no myth that people who engage in active aging and lifelong learning seem to be at less risk of developing early memory loss.
That’s why the memory care experts here at Marjorie P. Lee urge all seniors to stay sharp by reading, socializing, and remaining as active as possible. Simply put, there’s really no such thing as too much mental stimulation.
How can seniors improve their wellbeing to benefit their memory? Let’s examine four ways:
1. Stay Curious
Who said learning stops at graduation? You learned every day over the course of your career. You learned every day while raising your family. You learn every day from watching the news, seeing movies, talking with your friends and family members, and from reading books.
Everything new that you do, essentially, is lifelong learning. So, what are you curious to learn?
What do you want to see, do, or experience? Where do you want to visit? What burning “whys” and “hows” are tucked away in that noggin of yours? Are you answering them? You could — and should.
Take a lifelong learning seminar at your local public university (they’re often free for retirees!) or a class from your county’s extension agency. Enroll in a community course offered through the library or your neighborhood senior recreation center. Sit in for a webinar or two.
If the thought of listening to lectures or doing homework doesn’t appeal to you, use your imagination! Take a drive on a road you’ve never travelled. Visit a place you’ve never been. Read a book you’ve always wanted to read, but never found the time to pick up before.
Seniors who indulge their curiosity about the world around them usually live longer, healthier and happier.
2. Engage those Senses!
Consider a ripe orange. You see the brilliance of its color. You feel the rough, pitted texture of its skin. You smell the flowery citrus oil in its rind and taste its pulpy sweetness. You can even hear the juicy shlump as you bite into it.
You’re retired. You have time to closely examine the world around you. A few times a day, stop, stand and narrow your focus to your immediate surroundings. Don’t think about what you have still to do, or what you have done. Think about the now. What are each of your senses experiencing in this moment?
It’s important to remember not only to engage the higher functions of your brain, like memory, decision-making, planning and an
alysis, but also to exercise your more immediate functions: awareness, scrutiny, mindfulness, meditativeness.
You’ll not only be exercising your brain, you’ll be increasing your general sense of well-being, by tuning into the world around you.
3. Eat Right
If your brain isn’t getting enough nutrition, it isn’t going to serve you well. Likewise, if you’re overeating, or not getting the right nutrition, you’re doing yourbrain a disservice.
It’s incredibly important that seniors remember to eat plenty of fresh fruits and vegetables (the more colors, the better!), lean proteins and restrict their intake of high-fat, high-carb, preservative-laden junk foods.
Remember either to supplement with brain-healthy omega-3 oils, or to regularly include omega-rich fish, nuts, seeds and flax in your diet.
4. Stay Active
There is a definite link between mind and body. If you’re sedentary, you’re not only at increased risk of developing heart disease, cancer, diabetes and other serious physical ailments, you’re at increased risk of developing cognitive disorders, including memory loss and dementia.
Seniors need to exercise. Circuit training with light weights, swimming, jogging and speed-walking are all low-impact, high-benefit exercises for keeping your waistline trim, your muscles strong, your joints flexible and your mind sharp.
Even if your mobility is limited, there are exercises you can safely perform to keep yourself in shape.
Follow these four tips for keeping your memory sharp long into your golden years.
Exercising your brain, getting the right nutrition and staying physically active can reduce your risk of developing memory loss or dementia.
Have questions about memory loss prevention, or about residential memory care for an older loved one? We’re happy to answer them!
Click here to contact the aging care experts here at Marjorie P. Lee.