Are you interested in something simple you could do a few times a week that would help keep your memory intact, as you grow older? Chances are you’ll say yes.
While memory impairment is associated with aging, there are ways to keep the mind strong as well as to improve the memory. A recent Associated Press news release reports there is new research demonstrating that simple activities can delay mental decline even if you are in your 70s or beyond.
The greatest benefit is to those who use computers, but even those without computers can benefit from mind-stimulating activities.
Stimulating your mind does not mean you have to buy a computer or strenuously exercise, but you do have to engage in activities that help keep the mind sharp. Some examples are crafts; playing games of strategy like chess, bridge or other card games; watching movies, especially those that make you laugh; working jigsaw, crossword or word-finding puzzles; reading books or other literature; and socializing.
Additional activities that help keep the brain active are journaling, scrapbooking, looking at old family photographs or videos; planning a trip or learning a new skill, like another language or craft.
Any physical activity that requires planning also stimulates the brain – for example, golf, bocce ball, gardening, biking, putting together models, cooking, etc.
A study from the University of Pittsburgh supported by the National Institute on Aging suggests that seniors can preserve the size of their brain and their memory into old age by walking regularly at least six miles per week.
Many people now wear devices on their wrists that count the number of steps they take during the day, monitor their blood pressure and heart rate. Some devices even monitor how much and how deeply the person sleeps.
You might be amazed at how many steps you take doing normal activity, especially if you live in a two-story home and climb the stairs often or walk the dog.
So what is the moral of this story? Move as much as you can. Have fun. Play mind-stimulating games. Learn something new. Laugh a lot, go out with friends, join a club – all the while improving your memory and retaining your functional abilities.
Rachel Carson is the owner of Home Instead Senior Care serving Jasper and Beaufort counties since 1997.