Can’t remember why you walked downstairs to the kitchen? Forget where you last put your glasses? Advancing age means an elevated risk for various debilitating diseases and conditions like Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia, but minor memory lapses can also be the result of normal age-related changes in the structure and function of the brain. Indeed, studies have shown that our cognitive skills begin to decline as early as age 27.
However, research has also shown that you can maintain and even improve cognitive functioning by adopting healthy lifestyle habits including:
1. Hold the Grease
Diets high in fat have been repeatedly linked to inferior brain function. A study published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease found that when rats consumed a diet loaded with saturated fat, their performances on memory tests were significantly worse than other rats.
2. Up the Aerobics
Regular exercise doesn’t just benefit your body it also benefits your brain. Physical activity gets your blood pumping, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain. Even if you don’t have time to hit the gym, small adjustments to your routine will make a difference. For example, consider taking the stairs instead of the elevator or choose a parking spot at the far end of the parking lot.Consistent exercise has been shown to delay memory loss, slow cognitive decline and muscle atrophy, and boost mood and mental wellbeing. Home Care Assistance caregivers are trained to promote physical activity among their clients through our Balanced Care Method, a research-based approach to healthy longevity. The vast majority of Home Care Assistance clients experience significant improvement in strength and mobility through the program.
3. Incorporate Omega-3s
Multiple studies have found that omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent damage to brain cells and boost memory power. Not only that, but they also can help relieve the inflammation associated with migraines, rheumatoid arthritis and some autoimmune conditions like Crohn’s disease. Strive to eat three portions of oily fish per week. Salmon, trout, mackerel and seaweed are all loaded with omega-3s. Eating a healthy diet that incorporates omega-3s is also a part of Home Care Assistance’s Balanced Care Method. Caregivers have access to healthy meal preparation training through Home Care Assistance University, an online training portal.
4. Play Games
Just as physical activity keeps your body fit, mental stimulation helps keep your brain in shape, strengthening communication pathways. Researchers believe that playing mentally stimulating games like bridge and chess, or doing puzzles like Sudoku or the Sunday crossword can help improve memory. These games work as exercise for the brain by requiring complex reasoning. This brain-training concept is the basis of our Cognitive Therapeutics Method™, a science-based cognitive stimulation program that can help prevent the onset of cognitive decline and slow the progression of dementia symptoms. Home Care Assistance caregivers are trained in the Method so that clients receive one-on-one mental stimulation as well as support with basic care and activities of daily living, supporting overall quality of life.
5. Take a Mental Picture
Using a “mental camera” can help you preserve a memory for a longer period of time.
“To help make the memory of an incident last, take a ‘snapshot’ of it while you’re in the moment, using all your senses. Look around and think about what you see,” advised Caring.com.
You can also employ this trick when reading the newspaper. Next time you read an article, take a mental note of the main points of each paragraph, and then repeat the gist of the story to yourself from memory. This serves as a quick and easy mental exercise.
6. Shake Things Up
Do you ever notice yourself switching into autopilot when you’re in the car? You plan to meet a friend for dinner and all of a sudden you find yourself halfway to work. In order to fire up your brain and switch it off of autopilot, start shaking up your routine. Try out a new coffee place, take a different route home or update your screensaver with new pictures
If you think you are currently experiencing cognitive decline or just want more information about Alzheimer’s and dementia signs and symptoms, then the Cognitive Therapeutics Team can help.
To learn more visit www.cognitivetherapeutics.com or call 1-650-213-8585 today!