Nearly 40 percent of people aged 65 and older experience some degree of memory loss, according to the Alzheimer Society of Canada. As for what causes memory issues, it’s often a combination of various age-related changes that affect the brain. The good news is there are some things your aging loved one can do to reduce the risk of memory loss. Here are seven suggestions.
1. Engaging in Regular Physical Activity
Whether it involves low-impact workouts, yoga, water-based exercises, walking, or simply working in the garden, physical activity helps the brain by boosting the circulation cells need to stay healthy. The Canadian Physical Activity Guidelines for older adults suggest at least 150 minutes of moderate to vigorous aerobic exercise per week, which can be broken down into smaller increments (e.g., 10–15 minutes here and there throughout the week).
A professional caregiver can be a terrific source of support for a senior who needs a hand with exercising safely. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
2. Exercising the Brain
Getting plenty of mental stimulation is another effective way to minimize the risk of memory loss in seniors, and it can be fun and engaging at the same time. Mental “exercise” can come in many forms, and it should include things that stimulate parts of the brain related to memory functions, such as pattern recognition and logical thinking. Options include:
• Playing board games or working on word puzzles
• Using brain-stimulation apps such as Lumosity, BrainHQ, and NeuroNation
• Learning new things, such as a different language or how to play a musical instrument
Social isolation, which tends to be a common issue for older adults, can contribute to depression, stress, and anxiety. Mental health conditions like these can also affect memory abilities in seniors. Minimize this particular risk by finding ways for your loved one to interact with others as much as possible.
For families living in Surrey, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.
4. Getting Organized
Memory slips are more likely to occur if your loved one is generally not all that organized. If a lack of organization regularly contributes to memory lapses, help your loved one bring more organization and order into his or her life by:
• Decluttering the home
• Limiting distractions in the immediate environment
• Using physical and online calendars to keep track of important dates, appointments, and scheduled events or activities
5. Maintaining Healthy Sleep Habits
Among many other things, sleep plays an important role in the process of consolidating memories, which makes it easier to store and process recently acquired memories when awake. The Public Health Agency of Canada recommends seniors get 7–8 hours of high-quality sleep each night.
6. Following a Brain-Friendly Diet
An effective—and often tasty—way for the brain to get the nutrients it needs to maintain essential cognitive functioning is to eat healthy, brain-friendly foods. A diet of this nature typically includes:
• Broccoli and other green leafy vegetables
• Low-fat sources of protein
• Fatty fish rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids
• Blueberries and brightly colored citrus fruits
• Coffee and dark chocolate (in moderation)
7. Managing Chronic Health Conditions
Diabetes, high cholesterol, hypertension (high blood pressure), and hearing loss are just some of the chronic health conditions that could contribute to memory loss in some way. If your loved one lives with any of these conditions, work with his or her doctor to find effective ways to handle them.
There are a variety of age-related health conditions that can make it more challenging for seniors to live independently. However, many of the challenges they face can be easier to address if their families opt for professional homecare services. Surrey families can rely on expertly trained caregivers to keep their loved ones safe and comfortable while aging in place. Call us at (778) 279-3634 today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Managers about our high-quality home care.