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  • Writer's pictureNikita Chand

Boosting Memory and Thinking in Seniors

Just as exercise improves your physical health, brain workouts strengthen our mind — boosting your memory and thinking skills is essential in the aging senior. Even better, it’s never too late to begin exercising your most important muscle. These tips will help slow down mental decline and dementia in the aging senior.

Here are some proven tips:

  • Stick to an exercise routine – your mind and body are interconnected. Often, what benefits the body benefits the brain. Regular exercise, even taking a simple walk, goes a long way toward improving your memory and cognitive skills.

  • Make reading a habit – in a study in the journal Neurology, regular reading and writing in late life reduced the rate of memory decline by 32%. You can read to your grandchildren, join a book club and/or subscribe to fa favourite magazine or local newspaper. It helps to set aside time each day for reading.

  • Write frequently – it improves working memory and communication abilities. In the end, it doesn’t matter what you write because simply expressing yourself will boost your brain activity. Poetry, handwritten letters, emails and cards can jump-start your creative energy.

  • Eat a healthy diet – you know that nuts, fish, and red wine have been linked to a healthy brain, but reducing sugar intake can help stimulate your mind, too. For an extra brain boost, Harvard Health suggests including these foods in your diet:

    • Fatty fish, such as salmon, is filled with Omega-3 fatty acids, which are major building blocks of the brain.

    • Tea and coffee can improve alertness and focus. It’s rich in polyphenols and antioxidants, and its caffeine can help solidify new memories.

    • Walnuts are high in protein and healthy fats, which can help improve memory and have been linked to lower blood pressure and cleaner arteries.

    • Berries have antioxidants and flavonoids that can help significantly delay memory decline.

  • Strive for good posture – if anyone has ever told you to sit up straight, they were right as maintaining an upright posture improves circulation and blood flow to the brain. Here are three ways to improve your posture if able:

  • Sleep with your spine aligned: Sleeping on your back or side is generally less stressful on your spine. With back-sleeping, gravity keeps your body centered over your spine. If you sleep on your side, try to keep your head in a neutral posture with your chin straight ahead.

  • Improve your balance: Staying balanced reduces the risk of falls and benefits the spine. Try online or in-person yoga for beginner classes to improve balance.

  • Maintain a healthy weight: Carrying extra weight adds stress to your muscles and makes it more difficult to maintain proper posture.

  • Get plenty of sleep – sleep deprivation can put you at greater long-term risk of physical and mental health problems, including reduced attention span, worsened memory, and mood changes. Memories and newly learned skills move to more permanent regions of the brain while you sleep. This makes them easier to recall. Adults 65 and older should aim for 7 to 8 hours of sleep each night. Struggling to fall or stay asleep? Try these tips:

  • Stay consistent: Pick a bedtime and stick with it — a routine will help you sleep better overall. This also includes setting a regular time to wake up on weekends.

  • Avoid heavy food: Large serving sizes can irritate your stomach, causing you to lose sleep. Instead, when you’re hungry at night, have small snacks like nuts or slices of fruit. Other foods to help you sleep include oatmeal, herbal teas, and warm milk with honey.

  • Limit alcohol and stimulants: Try to avoid alcoholic drinks and stimulants like coffee, cola, cigarettes, and chocolate for up to 4 to 6 hours before bed.

  • Exercise regularly: Daily physical activity can help healthy adults fall asleep faster and stay asleep longer.

  • Playing games – are another simple way to sharpen and stimulate your mind. Games such as Sudoku, Chess, Scrabble, Trivia and online games are just a few. You can play with friends or solitarily.

  • Listening to music – or playing music is enjoyable, but that’s not the only benefit – it also improves memory function in older adults, according to a 2019 study in the journal Frontiers in Psychology. Finding your favorite tunes or learning to read or play music is easier than ever thanks to versatile platforms and technology such as Youtube and Spotify.

Doing these listed activities everyday can help prevent mental decline and dementia in seniors. Start slow and ask for help if your wanting to try some of these exercises or try a brain boosting diet. Call us today to learn more about the services we offer.

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