Tips to Prevent Elder Memory Loss
We all have “senior” moments. Everyone has a temporary memory lapse or occasional forgetfulness. But this is different from complete memory loss. Your brain is a part of your body…it needs excercise and good health practices. Staying mentally, physically, and socially active may lower the risk of memory loss.
Although you can’t change your elderly parent’s age or family history, you can encourage them to make lifestyle changes that may help prevent memory loss or improve memory. Here are some tips to “remember”.
— Stay physically active:
Exercise helps lower your risk of heart disease, diabetes, high blood pressure, and stroke — all risk factors for cognitive and memory disorders. Encourage your elderly parents to try low-impact exercises such as yoga or tai chi. A walk around the block to help improve blood flow to the brain will keep their mind sharp.
— Eat a healthy diet:
A diet that is rich in vegetables, fruits, lean proteins, and whole grains can help your brain and heart health. Eating healthy can stave off conditions that contribute to cognitive decline, such as diabetes, obesity, and high blood pressure. Some healthy food groups that may have cognitive benefits include leafy green vegetables, berries, whole grains, fish, lean poultry, beans, and olive oil.
— Keep your mind engaged:
Reading, learning something new, doing crossword puzzles, or playing games can help keep the mind active. Stimulating the mind may help prevent memory loss by enhancing connections between cells in the brain that support memory.
— Control your blood pressure:
High blood pressure is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. Controlling blood pressure when it’s high can help lower your risk of memory-related conditions.
— Stay social:
Social isolation in seniors can be both a symptom of and a risk factor for dementia. Staying connected with others helps lower stress and prevent depression. Help prevent loneliness by encouraging your aging loved one to take up a hobby, seek volunteer opportunities, or join a club or religious community.
— Get enough sleep:
Sleep helps your brain rest and restore. It also helps to consolidate your memories. Sleep problems over time have been associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline and dementia. If your elder has sleep problems, talk to the doctor about strategies to help improve sleep.
— Quit smoking:
Smoking can lead to several long-term health problems. But did you know that people who smoke are also at increased risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s? Again, talk to your doctor about how to help quit smoking for improved overall health.
— Drink alcohol in moderation only:
There’s some evidence that a glass of red wine a day may have beneficial effects. It possibly reduces inflammation and even lowers the risk of memory disorders. However, drinking more than four drinks a day for men and more than three drinks a day for women is considered excessive. If your elderly parents drink alcohol, it’s important they do so in moderation.
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John D. Miller is the founder/owner of Home Care Partners, LLC, a Massachusetts business providing private duty, personalized in-home assistance and companion care services to those needing help in daily activities and household functions.
Phone: (781) 378-2164