How can you keep your mind sharp whether you are living independently or in an assisted living facility? Today, experts know there are a variety of simple ways to help or even increase your brain function. You may want to try incorporating a few of these suggestions in your daily life.
- Eat Right: “There are many healthy foods that should be included in your diet,” said Bob Tucker, a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of the Senior Helpers office serving the north and northwest suburbs. “You should include such foods as nuts, fish and red wine. In addition, you may want to consider following the Mediterranean diet that consists of vegetables, legumes, unrefined cereals, fruits and olive oil.”
- Read a book: Reading a book or even a magazine is especially beneficial to seniors. Absorbing the information helps build connections within the brain. Visit a bookstore or the library to find a wide selection of books and magazines. If you have a vision problem, there are books with large type, monitors that blow-up type for easier reading and books on tape.
- Write: Writing can improve your memory as well as your ability to communicate. It can be a letter or note to a friend or grandchild. You may even have a private journal where you can write your daily thoughts and activities, or a gratitude journal to help you focus on the good things in your life.
- Puzzles: Crossword and picture puzzles can challenge and stimulate you intellectually. What you’re actually doing is exercising your brain and increasing your mental awareness. Once you master basic puzzles keep trying more difficult puzzles to keep challenging yourself.
- Paint or draw: “One of the most popular ways to keep your brain active today is to draw in the adult coloring books that are being sold everywhere,” said Abbie Tucker, senior advocate and client services director, certified senior advisor (CSA), a qualified dementia care provider (QDCP) and co-owner of the local Senior Helpers office. Many of the patterns take time to complete and are quite complex. The paint by numbers sets can also be enjoyable-or even just blank canvas where people can let their creativity loose.”
- Exercise: Whether you are taking an aerobics class, an arthritis class, yoga, swimming or chair exercises, it is important to keep exercising each part of your body that you safely can. Regular exercise even helps keep your brain healthy and buoys your spirits.
- Use memory tricks: “If you are noticing that you are having trouble with your everyday memory, here are a few tricks you can use,” said Bob Tucker. “Every time you learn a new name or word say it out loud so it’s in your brain. Then, try to connect the name or word with an image. For example, if the name is Autumn, visualize colorful leaves.
A second way to help with recall is to use sticky notes around your home or office. You can also set your phone alarm as a medicine reminder.”
Because aging can take a toll on the brain, these suggestions can help sharpen your cognitive functions. Start trying them and see if you notice a difference.
For more information about keeping your memory sharp, or if you are considering bringing in a full or part-time helper, call 847-564-7500, email Bob at Tucker@seniorheklpers.com or visit www.seniorhelpers.com.
An upcoming Senior Helpers presentation on Alzheimer’s, Parkinson’s and other forms of dementia is coming July 11th at 7 p.m. at the Highland Park Police Station. Call for details and to reserve your seat.