It’s no surprise that occasional forgetfulness comes with getting older. Losing our keys or forgetting an appointment once in a while is normal, however, there are proactive steps we can take to reduce our risk of age-related memory decline and other serious diseases, like Alzheimer’s and dementia.
While we all know that it’s common to experience forgetfulness as we age, not many people know why. According to the National Institute on Aging, our brains control many aspects of thinking, remembering, organization and decision making. As we age, parts of our brain can actually shrink, which can cause delays in memory recall and slow our ability to engage in complex mental activities. While brain shrinkage and a decline in memory recall is common, it doesn’t have to continue to progress as we age. Here are a few simple things we can do to keep our brains feeling young and sharp:
Get a full night’s sleep
When we sleep, our brains essentially repair themselves. Even though our bodies are at rest, our brain is busy consolidating memories and working to improve our cognitive functions. When we get enough quality sleep, we ensure enough time for our brains to recover from the day. You might notice your memory gets worse if you had trouble falling or staying asleep the night before.
Use your brain!
If we want our brains to function well, we have to use them! You might consider trying new ways to stimulate your mind. There are many different games and activities that can help you practice using different parts of your brain without you even knowing it. You might consider trying puzzles, crossword puzzles, board games and Sudoku. These are also great games to play together with your family and friends.
Focus on a healthy diet
Some researchers suggest certain types of nutrients can help prevent dementia. Vitamins E and B, along with omega-3 fatty acids are found in many different types of foods and help protect you against memory related illnesses. Leafy green vegetables, seafood, and berries also help protect your brain and increase cognitive function.
Regular exercise is great for building muscle and maintaining a healthy lifestyle, but it also encourages blood flow to the brain. Just 30 minutes of exercise each day can help keep your body healthy, reduce your risk of high blood pressure and dementia.
Spend time with others
When we socialize, our brains are constantly stimulated, which keeps them busy processing information. According to a recent study, socializing might even help lower your risk of dementia compared to those who don’t socialize as often.
Whether you prefer to read a magazine article or a fictional novel, reading constantly demands your brain’s attention. Reading forces us to use our imaginations, process words and sentences, and spark different parts of the brain.
At our Carespring facilities in Dayton, Cincinnati, and Northern Kentucky, we encourage our residents to try new things each day, ensuring their brains stay as sharp as possible. To learn more about our facilities, please don’t hesitate to contact us.