Many of us accept memory loss as part of aging, but it doesn’t have to be. Help your aging parent or relative maintain cognitive function and boost memory with the following tips presented by Kingwood Home Care Assistance.
1. Learn a new hobby or skill.
When people retire, they can easily become less mentally stimulated. The mental power needed to adopt a new pastime will stimulate brain cells and the communication between them. Encourage your elderly loved one to explore an intriguing hobby, such as photography, scrapbooking, or painting or take a class in cooking or crafts. If he or she has physical limitations, suggest hobbies that can be adapted to any level of mobility. For example, if your loved one is interested in gardening, a scooter, long-handled tools, and even a raised garden bed will make it easier and more enjoyable.
2. Eat berries.
A 2012 study found that consuming berries at least once weekly protects the brain from age-related memory loss. The Nurses’ Health Study followed over 16,000 women for six years tracking their mental function. During telephone interviews, subjects were asked to recall a word list or paragraph details.
The women who consumed the most blueberries and strawberries had the slowest rate of memory decline. Women who didn’t eat berries lagged behind by 2½ years of age-related memory loss. The results didn’t involve huge amounts of fruit. Weekly consumption was two servings of strawberries or blueberries.
A 2008 study by the Peninsula College of Medicine and Dentistry also found that subjects who regularly ate blueberries for three weeks showed improved working memory.
Berries are a rich source of anthocyanins and flavonoids. These antioxidants enhance memory by improving cellular communication in the brain. Learning is also facilitated by activating proteins along the hippocampal pathway.
Research shows that with aging, brain volume shrinks. The deficit is particularly evident in the hippocampus, the region vital for learning, memory, and spatial navigation. However, exercise can increase hippocampal volume by 40 percent, according to a 2011 study by the University of Illinois. Scientists divided 120 sedentary seniors into two groups. One group walked 40 minutes three times per week. The second performed toning and stretching exercises with the same frequency. At the end of one year, MRI images showed that the walkers had considerably increased hippocampal volume versus those in the stretching program. Coinciding with this finding, the walkers demonstrated improved memory and biomarkers of brain health.
Some seniors forgo eating healthy and exercising regularly because it simply becomes too challenging on their own. That’s where Home Care Assistance comes in. Our friendly and professional caregivers in Kingwood can grocery shop, prepare healthy meals, and encourage physical activity. Learn more by calling 832-412-1345 today and scheduling an in-person consultation with a dedicated Care Manager.