Active Seniors: Dealing With Memory Loss
Memory loss is often a normal and accepted part of ageing. But it can be hard to deal with constantly forgetting small things like where you put your keys and the appointment you were supposed to go to on Tuesday. There are many ways to deal with memory loss, especially in the early stages. And even if your memory loss is more advanced, there’s still plenty of activities you can safely do to stay active.
Keep Your Memory Sharp
As soon as you begin to notice the first signs of memory loss (usually classified as increased forgetfulness) it’s important to take action to prevent further memory loss from occurring. Start downloading brain teasers to your phone or tablet and playing them in your free time. You can also purchase physical brain teasers if that’s more your style.
You should consider taking a class to learn a new skill as this creates new pathways in the brain. Perhaps a ballroom dance class if you are physically able, or maybe a cooking class if that’s more your forte. If you aren’t able to spend much time on your feet, look into a local painting or art class.
At the early stages of memory loss, it’s also important to spend time with other people. Simply talking through events can help solidify your memory of them. It’s also crucial that you maintain a healthy diet end eliminate any alcohol or nicotine from your life as they only serve to increase the speed of memory loss.
Besides just eating well, incorporate foods with high levels of Omega-3 fatty acids into your diet as these have proven in studies to help keep the brain sharp. Ensure you also set up an appropriate exercise routine for yourself, whether this is something as simple as a walk around the block every afternoon, or perhaps a senior aerobics class at your local gym—and who knows, you might just meet new friends along the way!
Advanced Memory Loss
Unfortunately, most types of memory loss are irreversible. But this doesn’t mean there aren’t activities you can do to help keep it from getting worse. For those of you who find yourselves losing items often, try having a special place for all your most important things (phone, wallet, keys) and whenever you set things in that place, vocalize that you are doing so.
This way your brain will have multiple inputs (hearing, sight, and touch) and hopefully remember at least one aspect when you need these items later.
Even if you are confined to your home, this doesn’t mean you should stop being active. In fact, it’s recommended you continue to do the things you love. Order a puzzle, do a craft, or sing a favorite song. Although it may be difficult to exercise (especially if you can’t leave the area) consider planting a garden, or if you don’t have access to the outside, research plants which can be grown inside and take time repotting them in decorative pots.
Household chores such as vacuuming, folding laundry, and organizing drawers can also be a great work out as well. If you’re less mobile, try reading new books or magazines and reading them aloud when you do.
A good mental exercise with those with advanced memory loss is sorting objects, such as cards or beads, by color. Even following a new recipe to bake treats in a mental activity that can help you keep your mind active.
No matter the level of your memory loss, giving up and watching TV is never the answer. No matter what your lifestyle, or favorite activity, there are ways to adjust it to be able to do it from home. And above all, take all the steps you can to keep your mind active—in order to slow, and prevent, further loss of memory.