6 Easy Ways to Boost Memory in the Senior Years

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Many people believe memory loss is a normal part of aging, but this isn’t the case. Approximately 15 to 20 percent of seniors over the age 65 have some degree of mild cognitive impairment, a condition that increases the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Here are a few ways to boost memory in the golden years.


1. Get More Sleep

Many seniors have difficulty falling and staying asleep at night, which may be due to health conditions, medications, or too many daytime naps. Research has shown that getting a good night’s rest is essential in preserving memories and staving off memory loss. A 2015 study published in Current Biology found that getting adequate sleep develops new memories and boosts cognitive function. Encourage your loved one to get six to eight hours of sleep each night. 

Lack of sleep can lead to a number of health issues. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Assisting Hands Home Care, a leading provider of home care Reston families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.


2. Eat Less

If your loved one tends to snack on empty calories, reducing the amount eaten per day could boost his or her brain and body. A study done by researchers at the University of Münster found that participants aged 60 and over who reduced their caloric intake by 30 percent scored 20 percent better on memory tests after only 12 weeks. Researchers believe the improvement may be due to decreased insulin levels.


3. Drink More Green Tea 

Starting the day off with a cup of green tea can help your loved one get moving and enjoy better brain health. Green tea contains several compounds that boost cognitive function. Researchers at the University of Basel conducted a study that involved giving the participants a drink with green tea extract and then monitoring their brains while they performed a memory task. The brain scans showed that participants who drank the green tea had increased activity between the frontal cortex and the parietal lobe, a portion of the brain that helps with memory formation.


4. Learn Something New

Learning new information helps the brain grow new connections and boosts cognitive function and memory. A study published in Psychological Science analyzed the impact of learning new skills on the brains of senior citizens. One group learned how to quilt and another learned about digital photography. Both groups spent 15 hours a week for a period of three months learning and working on their new skills. Memory tests were then given and compared to a third group who had spent time having fun by watching movies or doing puzzles. The groups who had learned new skills had significant brain improvement. Check out a local community center or senior center for ideas on new skills your loved one might enjoy learning.


5. Socialize

Many seniors feel lonely and isolated. Studies have found that a lack of socialization can damage the brain. Encourage your loved one to reach out to family and friends, schedule regular visits with others, or join a walking group. Talking with others can boost the brain, mood, and overall health.

For families living in Reston, 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 Assisting Hands Home Care, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.


6. Take a Vitamin B12 Supplement

Not getting enough vitamin B12 may harm the brain. A study published in the May 2012 edition of BMC Psychiatry found that seniors who had low levels of vitamin B12 had an increased risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease and did more poorly on cognitive tests. Vitamin B12 is naturally found in eggs, salmon, and cottage cheese. You can ask your loved one’s doctor about vitamin supplements. 

Making healthy lifestyle choices is just one of the many ways older adults can enhance their wellbeing. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional senior care. Assisting Hands Home Care is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life. Call us today to talk to one of our compassionate Care Specialists about our high-quality home care services.