by Ellen Busch on August 16, 2012
Here are six things that doctors say can help seniors prevent memory loss:
- Keeping your brain active. Challenging your brain and mental abilities is believed to stimulate brain cells and keep your thinking sharp. This may include reading, writing, developing a new skill, or relearning old skills. Various brain games, puzzles and problem solving can help.
- Letting go of stress. It’s been shown that prolonged stress over many weeks can cause memory loss by altering brain chemistry and damaging the hippocampus, which is where the brain stores new memories. Have a caregiver walk your Mom or Dad around the Brea Mall. The weather is always nice there.
- Staying socially active. Relationships with other people can improve mental performance. Social activities often are intellectually stimulating, which prompts good memory function. Friends also can provide support when feeling stressed. Research has linked loneliness with an increased risk of memory loss and dementia. The Brea Senior Center in North Orange County is a great resource for keeping Mom and Dad involved with others.
- Exercising regularly. This can keep blood flowing to the brain, leaving the brain cells well-nourished with oxygen and nutrients. The Silver Sneakers Program at the Brea Fitness Center is a great place for a senior to get a workout.
- Staying away from smoking and alcohol. Smokers have been shown to perform worse than nonsmokers in memory studies and tests of thinking skills. Heavy alcohol use is also known to cause memory loss.
- Not suffering head trauma. Head trauma is one of the major causes of memory loss, and has been shown to cause dementia later in life (as shown in studies of professional football players and boxers).