Have you ever had the name of an acquaintance or restaurant on the tip of your tongue but not been able to recall it when you needed to? As frustrating as this can be, it is a natural occurrence that most people experience from time to time. Minor lapses like this are not typically a cause for concern; however, memory loss naturally increases with age and can become more pronounced as the years advance.
Fortunately, much research has been devoted to discovering how to combat deteriorating memory, and has resulted in some simple recommendations to help keep it at bay. Here are a few tips:
Several studies present convincing evidence that staying social is strongly linked to staying sharp. In one study, those who had regular social interactions were twice as likely to avoid symptoms of dementia and memory loss than those without them. A byproduct of socializing is the ongoing learning and discovery of new topics and interests that accompanies engaging with others. Keeping your brain active and building new connections is one way to preserve memory, so talk to your neighbors at dinner and during activities. Not only are you likely to form some friendly bonds today, but your brain will thank you tomorrow.
The University of British Columbia published a study that measured the effects of taking regular walks on blood pressure and cognitive performance. The study showed that those who incorporated walking into their lifestyle demonstrated more efficient thinking skills than those who did not. It is thought that dementia may be linked to lack of blood flow to the brain and that regular physical activity – such as walking for one hour, three times a week, can improve necessary blood flow. The same researcher emphasized that if walking regularly is overwhelming, start small – just a short walk once a week, and gradually build from there.
After incorporating walking into your weekly routine, you may find that you are more tired at bedtime and able to sleep more soundly. This is great news when it comes to combating memory loss! Studies show that deep, uninterrupted sleep is precious time for the body’s nocturnal systems to go to work. These tasks include making creative connections, regulating decision-making, and organizing and filing away memories for future recall. It is recommended that older adults, just like their younger counterparts, get a full 8 hours of sleep per 24-hour period to ensure that the brain has time to work through these crucial processes.
If lapses in your memory are becoming more persistent or interfering with your day-to-day life, consult with a medical professional to determine if there is an underlying cause or for alternative courses of action. With a lifetime of treasured people, places, and experiences stored in your memory, it’s worth it to make the effort to ensure that they can be easily recalled for years to come.
Read this article and more in our November newsletter.
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