Exercise Your Mind

We all tend to lose things, no matter what age we are. Forgetfulness is rarely regarded as anything more than a passing annoyance. As we age, however, the concern is that forgetfulness is the first telltale symptom of Alzheimer’s disease.

For the vast majority, there’s no cause for alarm. And while it’s true that our memories lose sharpness once we pass our 40th birthday, there’s a lot we can do preserve our mental agility.

Research has highlighted a number of brain exercises for seniors that can produce significant gains in memory and information processing:

  • Try something new. Puzzles, riddles and chess are all good brain teasers, but the key is to try something new to fire up the neurons. If you’re a crossword puzzle or Sudoku fanatic, try bridge.
  • Break your routine. Your brain gets stuck in a rut and you stop paying attention, so change your everyday patterns in small ways. Rearranging the photos on your desk or taking a different route to work can strengthen the connections between brain cells.
  • Act on your creative impulses. Take the time to express your artistic side by taking up photography or learning how to play an instrument. Stimulate the imaginative right side of the brain as the logical, rational left side is walking you through the day.
  • Write it down. The act of writing something down or talking aloud helps lock it in your memory. Keep a small notebook handy to write down the things you want to keep in mind.
  • Eat “good” fats. Certain fats can actually be good for your brain. If you don’t already take fish oil capsules every day, you may want to try them. Or better yet, eat fatty fish such as sardines and tuna. The omega-3 oil helps your brain function well.
  • Get a good night’s sleep. Scientists found that sleep helps consolidate learning that takes place during the day. So if you want to try to remember something, recall it before you settle in for the night, and then sleep on it.

Visit the Sunrise Memory Care section to learn about our unique approach to caring for seniors experiencing memory loss. For ongoing updates from the latest news about caring for a loved one who suffers from Alzheimer’s disease or other memory-related diseases, read the Sunrise Senior Living Blog or subscribe to our RSS feed.