If there is one thing that all humans have in common, it is that we are all getting older. Since we are not alone in aging, we all tend to face the same aging challenges. One of those challenges that we may one day face is memory loss. In fact, about 1 in 9 adults over 45 report some issues with memory and recall. It is common, and it happens to the best of us. Though we all know what they say about misery loving company, wouldn't it be great if there were some steps we could take that could help us save our memory? Below are seven tips for seniors to aid in boosting memory.
1. Get Some Shut-Eye
We just can't say enough good things about a good's night sleep. Sleeping poorly can ruin an entire day. It can make us cranky, sore, and - more importantly - make us not want to get up and get some exercise. And did you know that it is during sleep when our memories are made? It's vital for the 55 and older crowd to get plenty of sleep. Getting a solid 6-8 hours won't just help improve memory, but it will also help sharpen the attention span. Are you having trouble getting that much sleep overnight? Get to napping! A little midday shut-eye helps as well.
Learn more about sleep with the following articles:
- 10 Tips for a Better Night's Sleep
- What are the Best Sleeping Positions for Older Adults?
- 5 Benefits of a Full Night's Sleep for Older Adults
- 8 Reasons You're Not Getting Your Best Sleep
2. Break Out the Jigsaw Puzzles
Puzzled? Well, you should be. Working on jigsaw puzzles is a great brain exercise. They don't just help with cognitive function and memory; they are also a fantastic way to socialize. You can spend time puzzling with friends over coffee or with the grandkids while babysitting. Are you looking for some fun puzzles for pennies? Check out your local used bookstores. And if you're looking for some jigsaw puzzle variety, start puzzle trading! Once completed, break the puzzle back into pieces and offer to trade your puzzle with one from a friend.
Did you know there was a push by some members of the medical community to refer to Alzheimer's disease as "Type 3 Diabetes"? Though this is still considered a controversial stance, it does go to show us the effects that insulin resistance can have on the brain. However, we don't have to put on our scientist hats to know that we should be limiting the pastries, cookies, and sugary drinks. These types of super sugary foods should be considered a rare treat. High sugar intake has recently been linked to memory problems in laboratory animals. And though you may not be a mouse, it is still a good idea to choose the Denver omelet over the pancakes.
4. Move It!
When you think of exercise, do you think of sweating it out under a stack of weights at the gym? And when you think of that, do you want to stay on your couch instead? Vinnie Tortorich, known as "America's Angriest Trainer", tells his clients that the best exercise is "the one you'll do". Do you look forward to water aerobics? Great. Would you prefer to stay in your home and follow along to an exercise video on YouTube? Perfect. Whether it is hitting those heavy weights or taking long walks, pick a calorie-burning routine that you enjoy. This ensures that you'll stick with it. Getting up to move and burn some calories will increase blood flow to the areas of the brain that are involved in memory making.
Spending a lot of time at home? Consider trying these strength exercises that can be done at home with little to no equipment!
5. Challenge Accepted!
Interactive games, activities, crosswords, and videos are an excellent way for seniors to challenge themselves and stretch their mental muscles. If you're an AARP member, check out their "Staying Sharp" website. The content was created based on guidance from the Global Council on Brain Health. AARP encourages members to "Engage Your Brain" in an effort to maintain brain health.
Come here often? Being social has several benefits. In some, it can lower blood pressure and reduce stress. This can aid in better quality sleep. Better sleep then aids in better memory. Whether you volunteer at a local charity or visit with your family, getting out and socializing in any way is excellent for brain health. Are you not able to meet face to face with your circle of friends? Use applications such as Zoom for the next best thing. Both are simple interfaces that even the least tech-savvy individual can easily learn.
7. Go Nuts for Coconuts!
Dr. Mary Newport, MD. has published many articles and books about fueling our brains with ketones. She began her research when she saw how much her husband's quality of life improved when he was on a ketogenic diet during his battle with Alzheimer's disease. Ketones fuel the brain in the absence of glucose, also known as sugar. Dr. Newport recommends coconut oil as a fuel source to help in ketone production. When you think ketogenic diets, are you picturing macro counting and food weighing scales? Thankfully, it is not that complicated! Sticking to a diet of meats, fish, eggs, vegetables, and cheese, along with ditching the cakes and cookies, may be enough for your body to start burning fat as fuel with no counting required.
Though aging itself is inevitable for all of us, we do have a part to play in maintaining our own brain health. Simple joys such as walking, socializing, or completing the Sunday crossword will help you in the long run by keeping that brain sharp. Memory loss is not something you have to take lying down. Put the above tips into action with the goal of being the envy of any elephant.