As we age, you might begin to notice a lapse in memory. It could start with minor changes: mixing up people’s names, forgetting a phone number or getting confused while driving to routine destinations. Even though these seem like common mistakes — given that decline in brain function is widespread among aging seniors — they can feel daunting to say the least.
While memory loss and other similar issues are generally associated with an aging brain, that does not mean it’s certain. Senior citizens — and the family and friends who love them — do not have to helplessly sit back and accept forgetfulness as an unavoidable part of their everyday lives. The good news is there are several ways to counter cognitive decline in seniors. With that in mind, here is an overview of what you need to know about memory loss, along with useful tips for keeping the brain young and healthy.
What Causes Memory Loss
Presently, around 50 million people worldwide live with dementia. However, in the next 30 years that statistic is expected to triple. A range of causes contribute to this cognitive decline in seniors. Blood flow to the brain may reduce, for instance, and brain tissue inflammation can increase. The communication between different nerve cells in the brain tends to deteriorate with age as well. These physical changes may make it more difficult to learn new things, recall information and complete multiple tasks at a time. Due to this, it’s essential to learn and understand how to combat age-related memory loss.
How to Combat Cognitive Decline
Some of the steps you can take to better your brain health are as effective for seniors as they are for younger individuals. For example, getting enough sleep is essential for everyone in order to improve mental cognition and memory. It is also a basic fundamental of physical wellness.
Similarly, staying physically active and eating healthy are essential to keeping your brain firing on all cylinders. Maintaining a healthy weight is important for fighting heart disease and dementia. Participating in vigorous exercise for a minimum of 30 minutes, five to six times a week can even lead to a multitude of health benefits. To aid the brain, committing to a consistent schedule of aerobic activity is an absolute must.
Here are other ideas to combat the harmful effects of an aging brain:
- Take medications properly. Always take the correct prescriptions to avoid damaging side effects to the body and mind. Also, talk to a medical professional about how your medications could possibly affect your mental capacities
- Be socially active. Interacting with others can raise alertness, boost happiness and even sharpen mental focus. Reunite with an old friend. Get out of the house. Go to social events. Staying socially engaged is an important part of preserving mental dexterity
- Learn new things. Search for opportunities to learn and grow. Reading books or attempting a previously untried activity can prove to be valuable. You can also attend a class at your local community college, or simply try eating a meal with your nondominant hand. The goal is to increase brain plasticity through mental challenge
- Stop smoking. If you have not stopped cigarette usage, it is highly recommended you quit. Smoking has continually been shown to increase the risk of mental impairment along with other harmful effects
- Play timed games. There are many mentally stimulating activities available, but timed games are particularly beneficial for helping your brain concentrate, multitask and exercise memory capacity. From board games to computer games, the practice of mental play is highly advantageous
People have more control and power than they realize when it comes to their aging brain. If you or someone you love is showing signs of cognitive decline, check out the infographic below for more information on what you can do.
“Infographic provided by Parentgiving"
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