According to researchers at Harvard Medical School, there are two simple steps older adults can take to keep their minds sharper and more active into their later years. These steps, in combination with a few other factors such as staying physically active and getting enough sleep, are proven to reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia and slow cognitive decline in older age.
Significant Memory Loss is NOT Inevitable with Age
We all have moments of forgetfulness or memory lapses. You might forget why you walked into the garage or what you wanted to say during a conversation. Interestingly, these “senior moments” can happen at any age. Cognitive decline is different from a simple memory lapse.
We might think that significant memory loss is inevitable with age, however, research suggests that it’s actually due to brain injury, neurological illness, or organic disorders. The idea of memory loss can be terrifying and frustrating. Fortunately, there are steps you can take at any age to mitigate your risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.
How to Delay the Progression of Alzheimer’s Disease
Research says one of the best things you can do to delay or slow the progression of Alzheimer’s disease or dementia is to keep your mind active. Mental activity in the form of puzzles, riddles, learning languages, or taking classes on something new all help to improve cognitive ability. Dementia and memory loss can grow more rapidly in the mind of an inactive person. That is why finding something interesting to study is essential to the brain of an Alzheimer’s patient.
The Top Two Ways to Keep Your Brain Sharp
- Implement All 5 Senses
When it comes to retaining a particular memory, the more senses involved in experiencing that memory will lead to a greater level of recall. In a research study, subjects were shown a number of emotionally neutral pictures. Each of the images was shown in conjunction with a certain smell. The subjects weren’t asked to recall what images they had looked at. Later on, they were shown another series of pictures (this time without any associated scent) and asked which of the pictures they had seen previously. The subjects were able to remember the pictures they had observed along with smells very well. Interestingly, the images presented with a good smell were even easier to recall. Brain scans showed that the odor-processing area of the brain was utilized when the subjects attempted to recall images that were presented with smells. This was the case even when the odors were no longer present!
- Make good use of your brain space
Mental energy does get used up in a day. If you don’t have to focus all your mental space on where you put your keys or when everyone in your family has a birthday, then you can free up that space to engage in more extensive learning. The best way to free up some of this space is to set up systems that help you with the daily, mundane things to remember. Get planners or calendars and write down all the significant events and important dates. For example, have a transition place near your front door where you always drop your keys.
San Diego’s Top Memory Care and Senior Care Community
MesaView Senior Assisted Living in La Mesa, California is one of the top assisted living facilities in the greater San Diego area. We’re known for our compassionate caregivers, beautiful grounds, and personalized, individualized care. We consider it an honor to walk alongside families as they traverse the challenging and heartbreaking journey of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia.