Follow up memory screening with these tips for healthy brain

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"You must do the things you think you cannot do." - Eleanor Roosevelt

The last article in this newspaper from Memory Matters was about baseline memory screenings. We received more than 30 phone calls and took 18 appointments for screenings. Thank you to The Bluffton Sun for helping Memory Matters educate people in our area about the importance of these screenings.

If you have had a screening, it is important to know what to do as a follow-up. First, be sure to give a copy of the screening to your doctor as part of your medical file. Then, consider implementing what Memory Matters considers the five pillars of maintaining a healthy brain.

• Life-long learning. Never ever stop learning. Keep learning new things. Introduce something different as often as possible.

For example, try listening to music that is unfamiliar to you. If you have never gardened plant some flowers or vegetables. Experiment with new foods. The possibilities are endless.

• Diet. Speaking of food, check out the Mediterranean Diet. Search the term online, or visit mymemorymatters.org and see what chef Kim Barretta has posted.

• Exercise every day. Experts recommend 150 minutes per week. Walk, bike, swim or dance. Jog, hula hoop or do yoga. Put on some new music and just move.

• Meditate. Start with just 10 minutes a day. I promise it will change your life. Meditation promotes happiness, kindness and calmness, all of which help keep your brain from getting hot and stressed.

• Socialize. A conversation on the phone or over lunch can lift your spirits. Make time for friends and family. Whenever the opportunity presents itself, meet new people. One of my favorite things is teaching classes because it allows me the opportunity to meet people from all walks of life.

Memory Matters offers classes and group meetings on Hilton Head Island and in Bluffton. Our classes are for anyone wanting to keep a healthy brain. Caregivers, try one of our support groups to meet people who share similar issues and to develop new relationships.

For more information, call 843-842-6688 or visit mymemorymatters.org.

Karen Doughtie is senior program director of Memory Matters, serving Bluffton and Hilton Head. karen@memory-matters.org; mymemorymatters.org

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