As you get older, you start to notice changes in your memory and cognition. You start to lose everyday items like your keys. It takes a bit longer to remember where you left your phone. You even have a harder time expressing yourself in a conversation. For some, it can be concerning, but is a normal occurrence that comes with age.
The brain tends to shrink as you age, slowing down blood flow. The loss of volume also reduces the nerve cell connection. The memory lapses that come with are simply a sign of age and do not necessarily point towards dementia. You can manage or alleviate these symptoms by taking better care of your mind and body. Here are five ways to keep your mind sharp as a senior.
Table of Contents
1. Eat Right
Many people start a diet thinking about quick perks like managing their weight or having a healthier tummy. However, what you eat can also affect your life down the road. While there’s a bunch of talking about which diet is best for your brain, most studies say that a Mediterranean diet gives you the best stuff. It lowers the risk for dementia and cognitive impairment while providing benefits for heart health such as regulating blood pressure. Avoid foods with saturated fats and hydrogenated oils.
2. Work Your Brain
Mental stimulation is as important to the brain as physical exercise is to the body. Regular use makes the brain stronger so regular mental exercise is recommended. Challenge yourself with puzzles and mental games like crosswords. Learning helps create new connections between brain cells which boosts memory so make a point to learn something new. It could be a second language or a skill.
Human beings are social animals, and having a group of close knit friends and loved ones is beneficial for your cognitive health. Having a strong social circle can make your brain stay sharp and help you live longer. If you’re often alone, it can even raise the chance of memory problems and heart issues.
Feeling lonely can make you feel depressed and forgetful. If you cannot foster positive social relationships at home, a nursing home is a good option. Companies like Husky Senior Care offer a safe environment for seniors to interact with their peers and maintain a social setting. This has been found to increase happiness and overall quality of life.
4. Manage Stress Levels
Stress changes the way the brain functions even in your youthful years. It might even change the chemicals in your brain over time. When your brain chemicals change, it can make you feel down and worried, which can lead to feeling super anxious or depressed. There are many ways seniors can manage stress from journaling to physical exercise. Reading and listening to music is also a good way to keep stress at bay.
5. Believe in Yourself
Hearing people talk about their declining memory and cognitive performance as they age can lead to the same. Exposure to negative stereotypes and myths can lead to performing poorly on memory tasks. Positive reinforcement can help improve your performance. Always believe that you have control over your memory function and it will translate into better performance when put in practice.
Aging is a fact of life you cannot run from. How you take care of your body and mind today will determine the quality of life you lead as a senior. Make sure you eat a healthy diet, exercise your mind, and avoid stressors to improve cognitive performance in your senior years. This way, you can enjoy lifelong memories and even create more.