Summary: Memory loss is not an inevitable part of aging and with a bit of work it can be prevented. Read on to discover five of the best techniques to help your memory as you grow older…
Forgotten where you put your house keys? Just been to the shops and discovered half the things you meant to buy are still on the shelf? These things can happen to anyone of any age, but as you get older you might start to worry that aging is causing your memory to subside.
Growing old brings about physiological changes that can cause issues with the power of recall, but you are not powerless. If you are concerned that you, or a loved one, are starting to suffer from the effects of a worsening memory, living standards can be given a boost through the provision of nursing care. However, there are many steps that can be taken unassisted which will help hugely with memory retention. Here are five of the best:
1. Sleep Soundly
During a recent study, scientists from a university in California found that sleep quality has a profound effect on memory as people grow old. The researchers discovered poor sleep causes deterioration in the part of the brain responsible for blending new memories together and over time this can lead to a drop in memory ability.
This problem can be avoided by getting regular, better quality sleep. Try to establish regular sleeping hours, with stable times for going to sleep and waking up. Getting into a healthy sleeping routine will help preserve your memory power as the years roll by.
2. Healthy body, healthy mind
The body can generate new brain cells at any time of your life. Exercising and keeping fit as you get older creates the perfect conditions for new cells to be created, boosting the blood supply to your brain. Exercise has also been shown to alleviate depression and prevent memory-affecting conditions such as diabetes.
Psychologists recommend that everyone should do at least 30 minutes of moderate exercise five times a week. Building physical activity into your daily routine is a great way to improve your psychological health and brain health. Maybe you could take up a sport, or go for a walk every day. Whatever you decide, you’ll be providing a great boost to your memory power.
3. Keep well fuelled
Your brain is a delicate piece of equipment and to keep it running smoothly you really need to make sure you give it the proper fuel. A proper diet can be as beneficial to your mind and memory as it can be for your heart and body.
Foods that are rich in omega-3 fats, such as salmon and tuna, are good for the brain and memory so should become an integral part of your diet. Also, make sure to take on plenty of fruit and vegetables – foods that are high in antioxidants which can offer brain benefits.
4. Use it, don’t lose it
Carrying out challenging mental activities can keep the brain healthy, forcing your mind to create new neural connections and preserve old ones. Mental connections are vital to the process of memory recall, so keeping the brain working is enormously helpful in preserving memory function.
Improving your concentration is a key part of this process. Memory and attention improvement courses such as Cogmed are specifically geared towards training this ability, something which should really help to boost your memory power. By mixing cutting edge science (Cogmed program was developed and evaluated world famous neuro psychologists) with innovative design the online training system aims to improve your working memory by increasing your capacity to focus on and retain vital information.
Outside of targeted memory-improvement programmes, there are plenty of other activities that you can do which will keep you mentally challenged. The key to the process is keeping your mind active – so watching documentaries doesn’t count! Here are a few of the things you could build into your daily routine:
- Complete a daily crossword
- Take up a new musical instrument
- Learn a language
- Take a part-time course at a local education centre
- Volunteer at a local community organisation
5. Organise your way to a better memory
Psychologists recommend implementing some extra systems to increase order in your life can boost memory power. Creating a diary in which you can jot down tasks and important dates will give you an extra resource to make sure information is not forgotten. And creating a space for items like keys, wallets and purses can ensure that these important items are not mislaid.
If you’re in a care home, or believe that you may need to enter one soon, many of these organisational tasks will be taken care of. However, there are always things that you can do yourself to boost your memory power and often putting in that little extra effort is enough to provide a big memory boost.
Protecting this vital asset
The peerless Renaissance artist Leonardo da Vinci summarised the significance of memory beautifully when he wrote: “Men wrongly lament the flight of time, blaming it for being too swift; they do not perceive that its passage is sufficiently long, but a good memory, which nature has given to us, causes things long past to seem present.”
A good memory can transform your experience of life so please do try these tips for a healthier memory and let us know which ones worked best for you.
What’s your memory like? Do you have a favourite memory retention technique? We would like to see your suggestions in comments section…
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