Forgot where you placed your car keys? Don’t remember the name of a person you just met? Have trouble remembering to take your medication? Memory loss is a common factor that affects older adults. Maintaining the mind is important for seniors, as it can affect their sense of independence and mental health. Although there is no way to completely prevent memory loss, there are certain factors that can help.
Pursuing hobbies and activities in old age could prevent memory loss and the risk of dementia according to the medical journal of the American Academy of Neurology. People both in middle and old age who engaged in artistic activities such as painting or drawing were 73% less likely to have memory problems. There are a variety of activities that help you stay active including: learning a new skill, joining bridge or book club, playing brain-training apps, and even getting a part-time job. By pursuing hobbies and activities, it will keep you busy while also making you happy.
Socializing with others decreases the chance of developing MCI (mild cognitive impairment). Friendships and a strong social circle have an impact on the quality of life for those living with Alzheimer’s. In a study shown by researchers at the Harvard School of Public Health, people with lower levels of social interaction were significantly more likely to have memory problems. By socializing and maintaining friendship ties, it can also reduce the risk of depression and stress, which are all linked to memory problems and dementia.
Harvard studies show that diets high in cholesterol and fat might speed up the formation of beta-amyloid plaques, which causes damage in brains, leading to diseases such as Alzheimer’s and dementia. To prevent or slow the progression of diseases related to memory loss, eating a healthy diet is critical. Eating fruits, vegetables, nuts, seeds, whole grains, fish and olive oil are great for maintaining a healthy body and mind.
Exercising three or more times a week for 30 to 60 minutes a day has been linked to a lower risk for dementia and is also shown to delay the start or slow the progress of Alzheimer’s. Not only can it help with memory loss, but it reduces the chance of heart disease, stroke, and diabetes. Older adults should consider moderate-intensity exercises such as swimming, walking, tennis, squash or dancing.
Sleeping plays a vital role in maintaining good health. An average adult needs 7-9 hours of sleep every night. Sleeping is extremely important because the brain is forming new pathways that help you learn and remember information. Sleep deficiency can alter activities in the brain such as trouble making decisions, solving problems, and coping with change.
If your memory affects your ability to complete usual daily activities, visit the doctor’s office. Some medical conditions can induce memory loss including: depression, diabetes, thyroid disease, and vitamin deficiency. Certain medications such as sleep and anxiety drugs can also affect your memory.
When you do visit the doctor (according to Alzheimer’s Association), you should bring:
If you have a hard time remembering daily tasks, use tricks that can help you such as posting sticky notes around the house or setting reminders on the phone. Whenever you meet someone new, repeat their name in your head several times and try to connect their name to something or somebody you already know. If you lose something, such as your keys, retrace your steps.
The best way to prevent memory loss is by starting to prevent as early as you can. Many people often associate memory loss with Alzheimer’s, but there are many other health problems that can induce memory loss. Other causes for memory problems include aging, medical conditions, mental health issues, mild cognitive impairment(MCI), or other types of dementia. If you’re worried about your memory loss, talk to your doctor.
Wendy studies English Language and Literature at the University of Ottawa, where she has won numerous awards for her writing.
Katie is a member of Welbi’s Customer Experience team! She has a background in communications and recreation and is passionate about older adults, exercise, coffee and people.
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