Could your relatives use a memory boost?
April 13, 2012
As we age, it's important to keep our minds and bodies in tip-top shape so we can stay healthy and happy. If you've noticed that your loved one's memory isn't as good as it used to be, it may be time to start exercising that brain! Here are a few ways you can help your relatives get back some of those old memories and retain new ones.
1. Physical exercise and sleep are both important. Movement increases oxygen flow throughout the body, including the brain. This can help reduce the risk of many disorders, like memory loss, cardiovascular disease and diabetes. Sleep also plays a large role in memory, as your brain can't work properly when it's tired. Memory enhancement activity also occurs mostly during rest.
2. A sharp attention span is necessary for creating memories. Research has shown that eight second of attention is all it takes to transfer short-term memories into long-term memories. Help your loved one be aware of everything that he or she is doing, and when you're relaying important information, be sure to talk about it for at least eight seconds and get your relative to interact in the process.
3. Being mentally active is also important. Brains need exercise too, and it doesn't take much to get this done. Help your loved one with a crossword puzzle, sudoku, board games or trivia questions. Encourage him or her to try new things, like reading a new book, taking a new walking route or listening to music.
4. Encourage healthy relationships. Humans are meant to be social, and interacting with others is a great way to exercise the brain and stimulate memory. Help your loved one meet up with friends on a regular basis, or take him or her to activities where new friends can be made.
5. Eat healthy foods. There are many foods that are known to be helpful to brain function. That includes those with omega-3 fatty acids (like fish and nuts), fruits and vegetables with plenty of vitamins and minerals, and, believe it or not, small amounts of red wine. It's also important to limit your relative's intake of saturated fat, which can increase the risk of dementia and impair memory.
While you're helping your loved one boost his or her memory, don't forget that a medical alert system is an important aspect of your relative's safety. At the push of a button, he or she will be able to use the medical alarm to get help in an emergency, so make sure your loved one knows how to use it and remembers that it's there!