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Senior Helpers: Effective Ways to Avoid Memory Problems

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Memory Boosting - 6 Best and Effective Ways to Avoid Memory Problems

Memory Boosting - 6 Best and Effective Ways to Avoid Memory Problems

There's good news for seniors who are living with memory problems. A growing body of research shows seniors can make lifestyle choices to boost memory. Here's what older adults can do to take care of their precious memory.

Get the Right Amount of Sleep

Scientists have long known that getting an adequate amount of sleep benefits memory. In recent years, researchers have studied how the brain consolidates information into long-term memory during sleep. Seven to eight hours of sleep per night is optimal for most adults. One study suggests regularly sleeping less or more than that can have a negative impact on memory.

Seniors who have trouble sleeping may need to improve their sleep hygiene by:

  • Going to bed at the same time every night

  • Waking up at the same time in the morning

  • Turning off electronics an hour before bedtime

  • Skipping caffeine in the afternoon and evening

Exercise Regularly

Physical activity increases blood flow in the brain, which gives a boost to memory and other brain functions. While all types of exercise have the potential to benefit memory, aerobic exercise may be best for adults having trouble with their memory. A study of older adults with memory issues found aerobic exercise increased blood flow to parts of the brain related to memory. After one year of regular aerobic exercise, study participants had a dramatic 47 percent rise in their scores on memory tests. Seniors should speak to a physician before starting a new fitness program.

Challenge Your Brain

Exercise isn't just for the body. The brain needs routine workouts too. Here are a few ways seniors can put their brains to work:

  • Completing crosswords or word searches

  • Reading

  • Keeping a journal

  • Creating art

  • Playing card games

  • Learning a new skill

If you're trying to help a parent who is struggling with their memory, strongly encourage your loved one to be a lifetime learner. Research has found learning a new skill is a very effective memory-booster for seniors.

Eat for Brain Health

The Mediterranean-style diet has been associated with slower brain aging and improved cognitive function. It's a diet that's rich in fruit, vegetables, whole grains, fish, and nuts. Olive oil is the main fat in Mediterranean-style cooking. The red meat and processed foods that are common in Western diets aren't routine parts of Mediterranean-style eating. While certain foods like berries have been hyped as superfoods for the brain, eating a variety of healthy choices from the Mediterranean-style diet is better for memory than limiting the diet to so-called superfoods.

Stay Connected to Others

Social isolation is linked to memory decline. Seniors may need assistance staying in touch with friends and relatives. Families may need to make a plan for seniors who live alone and aren't able to go out independently. Although it can be helpful to schedule a weekly or daily phone call to connect with an aging parent, in-person contact is also important. In situations in which the family can't provide regular visits and outings, it's a good idea to look into getting a home caregiver for your loved one. 

Prevent or Manage Chronic Conditions

Chronic conditions like diabetes and hypertension can lower blood flow to the brain, which isn't good for its health. Primary care physicians can help seniors who don't have these conditions make lifestyle choices to reduce their risk. Seniors who have chronic conditions need to be vigilant about following their treatment plans.

Often, seniors who have significant difficulties with their memory need more support than their families can provide. A home caregiver can provide a lonely senior with companionship. For seniors who need professional memory care, Senior Helpers Milwaukee offers expert guidance through the Senior Gems program. Contact us for more information.