Memory impairment with aging is a fact of life for many of us. Oftentimes we see it happening in our seniors, even though (admit it) it happens to us too.
Researchers report that the brain function decline of aging can begin when we are only age 45 and that by age 80 normal people have lost 40% of their memory.
How many of us have asked ourselves why we came into a room and just for what we were looking when we did? How many times have we misplaced our car keys or forgotten someone’s name?
Have you ever looked everywhere for your reading glasses to finally find them next to the sink – or on your head?
As our seniors get older, they tend to have more difficulty remembering or completing other mental tasks and report mental lapses or forgetfulness occurring more often. However, there are ways we can help many of them to maintain their memory and head more easily into their golden years.
Boosting Seniors’ Memory
- Help them get enough sleep. 7-8 hours of sleep each night is ideal for many. Look for obstacles that your senior may have to getting a good night sleep and try to overcome them. Do they need a new mattresses, is there light or sound coming from somewhere disturbing them, are they drinking caffeine or eating snacks too close to bedtime, do they need to use the restroom frequently or have they napped too much during the day? These are a few ideas to think about that could be disrupting a senior’s sleep and are easily fixed.
- Encourage them to eat well. Not only eating a well balanced diet that includes fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat foods but also including some foods that stimulate brain health such as omega 3 fat from fish or fish oil supplements, antioxidants in berries and brightly colored produce including tart cherries, drinking green tea and adding foods containing resveratrol such as grapes and cranberry juice. Avoiding excessive calorie intake as your senior ages not only keeps their weight in check but will help their memory.
- Find ways to keep your senior active during the day such as walking, yoga, tai chi, and other favorites to keep the body moving and ready for sleep. Exercising your senior’s body will exercise their brain.
- Provide mentally stimulating activities such as brain fitness games, crossword puzzles, sudoku, Wii video games, reading, singing and playing cards. Laugh loud, deeply and often!
- Engage them in social activities. Attend cultural and music events, senior centers, support groups, volunteer opportunities, or church sponsored activities. Being active in the community will keep their brains sharp!
- Seek out the advice of your senior’s doctor. There may be medications or uncontrolled chronic diseases negatively affecting their memory that can be corrected.
- Drink plenty of fluids. Seniors who are even just mildly dehydrated can suffer cognitive impairment.
- Get your senior connected! Joining family and friends on social networking sites, such as Facebook, will exercise their brains but also keep them engaged, learning new skills and enjoying their connections. Maintaining relationships and avoiding isolation will improve brain health and emotional health for seniors.
Our brains are marvelous creations that have the ability to reshape themselves with learning and stimulation, often with some help from us.
Many of the tips above should be fairly easy to incoporate into your senior’s daily life and the benefit will be great for all of you!
Check out the special section on brain health at the Senior Care Corner Bookstore for more reading.
Do you have more tips for helping improve your senior’s memory? We would love to hear them!