From: webmet.com article.
Mustafa Husain, MD and director of geriatric psychiatry at Duke University and R. Scott Turner, MD, PhD and director of Memory Disorders Program at Georgetown University Medical School, are two noted experts on aging and memory. Every senior will have a lapse in memory (senior moment) regarding lost keys, where did I park the car, etc. As the body ages there is a natural lessening in memory, however, that does not mean that you will have to live out your life suffering with memory issues, Doctors Husain and Turner list simple steps all seniors can take to improve or maintain thinking and memory capabilities. These nine steps are listed below.
Exercise improves mental health as well as physical health.
Dr. Turner states, “Exercise has the evidence for preserving memory and mental abilities in aging.”
One study showed that exercise releases the hormone BNDF. BNDF promotes healthy nerve cells in the brain that can improve memory.
TIP – Walk for 30 Minutes a Day
This diet is high in vegetables, fruit, fish and olive oil. Very low in red meats, fats, sugar and sodium.
A study showed that those seniors that stuck with Mediterranean Diet over a longer period of time, lowered the risk of thinking and memory issues by 20%.
Dr. Turner says to exercise the brain, just as you do the body, regularly, it is good for you.
SUGGESTIONS: Play cards, join a book club, puzzles, crosswords, etc.
Dr. Turner states, “The more social connections someone has, the better they are at preserving mental function and memory.”
Dr. Husain adds, “we see a lot depression in people who are socially isolated, depression itself can cause dementia.”
SUGGESTION: Check with your local council on aging, senior center, or churches for the activities they offer seniors.
“Attention and concentration when sleep is restless, and mental function is not as sharp as
Those who have normal sleep,” said Dr. Husain.
Avoid big meals before bedtime – Go to bed and get up at the same times every day – don’t drink caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime – Avoid blue screens (tv, computer, etc.) at least one hour before bed time.
“Being under stress is very bad for your brain,” says Dr. Turner. He adds, “high levels of the stress hormone, cortisol, makes it harder to pull information from the brain.”
STRESS REDUCERS: Meditation – Yoga – Massage.
Smoking speeds up aging and memory loss, likely do to “small strokes it causes in the brain”.
Use nicotine replacements – Medicines – Counseling
Some medical conditions can cause memory loss
Diabetes – Thyroid disease – Vitamin deficiencies
Also, some sleep and anxiety meds can affect memory
Every time you learn a new word or meet a new person, say the word or name a few times out loud to seal it in your brain.
Another trick for remembering names, associate the name with an image (i.e. Mary, visualize a wedding alter)
Use post it notes for reminders for taking medications or important meetings.