We’ve all been there: that moment when you walk out of the grocery store and can’t be sure where your car is parked. Or, you head purposefully into a room and then forget why. These are examples of perfectly normal memory loss every aging adult experiences from time to time.
Older adults are at a higher risk for cognitive decline and memory loss due to biological changes in the brain. As you age, the blood flow to the brain begins to decrease, and the hippocampus, the area responsible for retaining and retrieving memories, starts to deteriorate. Additionally, hormones that protect and repair the brain also decrease with age.
The good news is that there are things you can do to help maintain your brain health as you age. Try implementing these six tips into your daily routine:
1.Stay socially active. It’s so important to stay engaged with others and life around you. Aging adults often face social isolation as they age, leading to a higher risk of dementia. Find activities you enjoy that allow you to keep in touch with others, whether through volunteering, taking an adult learning class, joining a fitness center, or simply setting a weekly date to meet a friend for lunch.
2. Incorporate brain-healthy foods into your diet. A Harvard brain expert and nutritionist shared her top brain-boosting foods: spices such as turmeric and saffron, fermented foods such as plain yogurt with active cultures, dark chocolate, avocados, nuts, and leafy greens.
3. Play brain games. Play some brain teasers or put together puzzles. Try memorizing your grocery or to-do list. Challenge yourself to learn something new, like a foreign language or musical instrument you’ve always wanted to play.
4. Elevate your heart rate daily. Regular physical exercise can increase the production of the small blood vessels that supply blood to the brain and stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain and create connections. Find an exercise you enjoy, even if it’s just walking around your neighborhood, to get your heart rate up for 30 minutes every day.
5. Reduce or manage the stress in your life. Stress has been linked to short-term memory problems in older adults, and chronic stress has been proven to lead to deterioration in the brain’s memory area. Over time, this can negatively impact nerve growth and cognitive abilities. Find ways to reduce the stressin your life, whether through meditation, exercise, or simply relaxing at the end of a long day.
6. Get quality sleep. Numerous studies show a link between poor sleep patterns and higher beta-amyloid levels, the brain-clogging proteins that can further interfere with sleep. Getting a healthy amount of sleep can increase the brain’s ability to function and form memories. Keep in mind that you still need at least 7 to 8 hours of sleep a night for the brain to recover, store memories, and flush out toxins.
Let Springpoint Choice help you improve your brain health. Membership includes access to many of the perks we offer at our Life Plan Communities, including classes, lectures, and events. Contact our team today to learn more.