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Memory Loss Prevention

As you age, you may notice yourself starting to forget little things here and there. Maybe you forgot why you walked into a room, you can’t remember someone’s name, or you forgot the time and day of an appointment. These may seem like minor things; however, they can turn into bigger things, such as dementia or Alzheimer’s, as you get older.

Memory loss occurs in older adults due to organic disorders, brain injuries, or neurological illnesses. The good news is that there are many things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. In general, it’s best to maintain healthy habits such as exercising and eating a balanced diet. But there are many other things you should do to support your brain.

Here is a breakdown of some of the best things you can do to keep your brain healthy:

Keep Learning

Growing up, you constantly learned things through school, jobs, hobbies, and group activities.  It’s crucial for you to continue the learning process as you age because it will keep your brain functioning. Mental exercise can help with memory loss prevention because it stimulates your individual brain cells and keeps them active.

Dr. Zaldy Tan, a professor at the Harvard Medical School Division of Aging, suggests the following activities to aid in the prevention of mental decline:

  • Reading. Unlike watching television or using other electronics, reading regularly provides active mental engagement. It’ll become second nature to recall details from what you are reading and help you to sharpen your memory.
  • Board games. Playing games encourage critical thinking which provides productive mental exercise.
  • Playing musical instruments. Learning new hobbies or skills help to strengthen the brain and keep other parts of the brain active.
  • Dancing. Physical exercise and mental exercise mix well together. Dancing is a great physical activity because it also requires you to remember the dance steps that you learn.
  • Doing crossword puzzles. Crossword puzzles and other word games require mental focus and strong thinking. Doing this regularly will keep your brain sharp, prevent memory loss, and potentially prevent Alzheimer’s.

Treat Health Problems

Caring for every aspect of your health will assist in the prevention of memory loss. Many diseases and health issues can eventually impair your cognitive skills, so it’s essential to solve these problems as soon as possible.

These are some of the health problems that should be addressed:

  • Diabetes. High blood sugar reduces blood supply to the brain. If you have diabetes, treating it properly can prevent cognitive deterioration. Along with taking your prescribed medications, be sure to exercise on a regular basis. Exercise can help improve blood sugar levels.
  • Control blood pressure. If your blood pressure is too high, it reduces blood flow to the brain. To prevent memory lapses, control your blood pressure by exercising, reducing stress levels, and maintaining a low sodium diet.
  • Depression. Cognitive problems can be a symptom of depression; those who are depressed tend to have a rapid decline in mental skills. Adults with depression are also more likely to develop Alzheimer’s. Be sure to talk with a doctor to receive proper treatment for depression.
  • Check your thyroid. An underactive thyroid has a negative effect on learning, memory, and attention. It’s important to treat this condition in order to bring thyroid levels back to normal. This will help to improve cognitive performance as well.
  • Watch your cholesterol. High cholesterol increases your risk of memory loss and Alzheimer’s as you age. Be sure to keep your cholesterol low, while raising your levels of “good” cholesterol, or HDL. You can do this by exercising, eliminating saturated and trans fat, and eating more monosaturated fats such as olive oil and avocadoes.

Stay Organized

Staying organized will help you to efficiently keep your memory and thinking skills in check. The practice of writing down tasks and information will provide mental exercise and will ultimately strengthen your brain. Additionally, this will allow you to use your mental energy elsewhere, such as learning new information.

These are some things you can do to stay organized with information:

  • Calendars and planners. As you age, it can become difficult to remember important dates and plans, so writing everything down in a calendar and/or planner will help you to not forget about birthdays or activities that you have planned.
  • Maps. When driving or walking somewhere, make sure to have a GPS ready to go in case you are unsure of the directions. If using a GPS, pay attention to the directions so you can actively think about where you are going. This can help improve your memory for the next time you are going to the same location.
  • Shopping lists. Many people make shopping lists, and it’s especially beneficial to older adults. Write down every item you need before you go to the store to prevent the stress of trying to remember when you’re in the store.

In Home Personal Services has locations in Illinois, Florida, and Texas. If you or a loved one is in need of in-home care please contact us through our e-mail or call us at 877.826.4477.