When we age, it isn’t just our bodies that change – our mind undergoes changes as well. In fact, the brain size actually gets smaller – sometimes up to 10% smaller. The brain controls cognitive function, which we see declining in the elderly. There are some ways to slow down this process and fight back. We offer you our 10 best tips in this article.
Keeping the Mind Sharp
There are certain activities will go a long way in keeping the elderly mind sharp. We ask you to take a look and take action for your senior loved one:
Being human means our minds and our bodies are connected. We can’t just work on our bodies and think the mind will follow suit. BUT, it’s a proven fact that what benefits the body will, indeed, benefit the brain. So regular exercise that is appropriate for your loved one will definitely help the mind stay sharp and healthy. Don’t ignore it.
Are there any more fonder memories than being read to as a child, or the memories of a good story? It has been shown that reading to children will raise their IQ level and they will perform better in school. Reading supports brain health on a number of levels. It’s not only fun, good for the imagination, but it gives your brain practice in absorbing information, but strengthens and builds connectivity in the brain. Bottom line: Reading Rocks!
3. Healthy Eating
There are so many thoughts concerning good diets. We can’t possibly cover them all here. But we could, no doubt, agree that there are some “super” foods which should be incorporated into a healthy diet. These would include nuts, fish, fruits, vegetables, and even red wine. Whatever nutrition path you chose to go down, make sure it’s consistent and is an all-around good strategy. Avoid too many carbohydrates and sugars. Good nutrition will definitely be a boost to keeping the mind sharp.
4. Good Posture
You know how your mother always told you to “Sit up straight” or “Stand up straight?” Well, they were right – keeping your elderly loved one in an un-slouched position while sitting or standing will improve blood circulation, thereby increasing blood flow to the brains…and you guessed it! – help support brain health. Who would have thought Mother was so right?
5. Sound Sleep
We’ve always known it – when we sleep well, we feel better. Our minds are more creative and we get a lot more accomplished. This is still a good rule of thumb when we grow older. A sound night’s sleep is critical to daytime health, and especially with keeping memory sharp as we age. And guess what? It’s OK to take naps. Kids had it right – naps are good!
6. Paint, Draw or Doodle
I know we’re not all artistic, but when we were kids, we all doodled. It was a good workout for the brain then, and the same thing applies now in our older age. It doesn’t matter if it’s a masterpiece, or anywhere near it – simply drawing a little or doodling is GOOD for brain health. So get out your colored pencils and blank paper, and get started today.
7. Listen to Music
There is NOTHING like music to make a profound effect on our lives, in terms of our moods, our happiness and our well-being. Listening to music has been scientifically linked to improvement in cognitive skills and memory. Music should be a regular part of every Senior’s day.
8. Keep Learning
Why should one stop learning at a certain age? We shouldn’t! Just because you don’t plan a trip to a foreign country doesn’t mean you shouldn’t learn a new language. Why let the young people have all the fun with the smart phones and computers? Many people approaching the Senior time of life would enjoy ongoing education, and some cities have Senior Centers or affordable college classes designed just for the mature brain. Do your research and find something interesting for your loved one.
There are a great number of choices when it comes to puzzles, but just know they stimulate the brain and the intellect and will increase the mental capacity of those who engage in this activity. There are crossword puzzles, actual picture puzzles that can be worked on as a family activity and even online word games and puzzles.
Now don’t think by this topic we mean you should have to write essays or begin a novel. Even if it’s just a private journal or diary, simple email communication to family members or writing short notes to be mailed, writing will improve memory and keep sharp your ability to communicate.
In closing, we are aware that no matter if you put all these tips into play, there are some clinical diseases that are irreversible: Alzheimer’s, for example. But investing into these activities and guides for healthy living may decrease or slow down the development of serious brain disease.
If you need any assistance caring for your senior, please contact Home Helpers.
Home Helpers of San Mateo County is a locally-owned, trusted home health care agency and offers quality, compassionate senior in-home care services including home care assistance, personal care, companion care, respite care, Alzheimer's & dementia care as well as homemaker services in Burlingame, San Mateo, Half Moon Bay, Daly City, San Carlos, Redwood City, Belmont, Foster City, Hillsborough, Pacifica, Millbrae, Montara, and San Bruno.