We have all done it, walked into a room and wondered what we came in for but with age, memory loss may begin to cause more serious problems than forgetting names or where we put our reading glasses. Seniors can skip doses or take too much medication, leave the stove on or forget to lock the house before leaving. The good news is that there are many ways to improve memory and keep the brain healthy and alert.
Avoid Distraction. Declining ability to focus may result in a difficulty forming memories and as a result seniors need to make a greater effort to filter out distractions when there is important information to be processed.
Eat well. A healthy diet, rich in omega-3 fatty acids, folic acids and vitamins B, C and D3 are also important to help improve brain function and memory. Include foods like salmon, blueberries, legumes, nuts and dark leafy greens in your regular diet. Limit refined sugar and red meat which have been linked with brain inflammation.
Keep Moving. Regular exercise keeps the blood flowing to the brain, it not only strengthens muscles and improves balance, but may also help relieve stress and improve mood.
Get enough rest. The brain processes much of the information we take in during the day while at rest during the night. Talk with your doctor if you have sleep problems. A 20 minute nap during the day can also help the brain function better.
Brain Games. Like any part of the body, the brain needs to be exercised to work at its best. Playing a musical instrument, learning a new skill or language, playing brain games, Sudoko or chess or completing a daily crossword all help to improve memory.
Keep organized. Place important items like keys, glasses or cell phone in the same place each day to avoid forgetting where you put things. Use a calendar to record appointments and make a to-do list each week to stay on track. Pill organizers can also help seniors maintain medication schedules and prevent drug mix-ups. Clean up clutter! Lots of things can hide under piles of newspapers and magazines and be forgotten or “lost”.
Keep socially active. Becoming isolated can result in depression and increase stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss.
Source: Psychology Today
By trying to complete a single job at a time, rather than trying to multi-task, it is easier to pay full attention to the matter at hand and not lose track of where you put things along the way. You can also try mnemonic devices which are essentially tools to help remember something: someone’s name, address or an important appointment. You can create an acronym or visualize an image that will remind you, make a simple rhyme or break a large amount of information into chunks. By giving meaning and organizing information, it will be easier to remember.
To find brain games online visit the AARP website at: http://www.aarp.org/health/brain-health/brain_games/ or check out http://www.lumosity.com.