Even if dementia or other cognitive conditions aren’t part of the equation, older adults and their caregivers are often concerned about memory-related issues. Fortunately, there are ways seniors can boost their memory. Keep reading to discover five specific things you can encourage your senior loved one to do to enhance his or her cognitive skills and memory-related capabilities.
1. Get High-Quality Sleep
According to the National Sleep Foundation, sleep solidifies memories by triggering certain changes in the brain when it’s at rest. Seniors are advised to get between 6 and 9 hours of uninterrupted sleep each night to achieve this goal. If your loved one is having difficulty getting high-quality sleep, he or she may benefit from:
Adjustments to medications
• Regular activities during the day to minimize daytime napping
• A consistent bedtime and a quiet, calm sleeping environment
2. Eat Memory-Friendly Foods
Memory can be affected by certain unhealthy foods that affect how blood vessels deliver essential nutrients to the parts of the brain that manage memory-related functions and capabilities. The main culprits include sugary snacks and foods high in saturated and trans fats. Instead, encourage your loved one to enjoy memory-friendly foods, such as:
• Broccoli and other green leafy veggies
• Blueberries and other antioxidant-rich foods that protect brain cells
• Whole grains
• Sunflower and pumpkin seeds
• Salmon, tuna, and other fish rich in beneficial omega-3 fatty acids
• Dark chocolate (in moderation)
3. Sit Less and Move More
Regular exercise can boost memory and thinking skills. In a University of Texas study, seniors who used a treadmill or stationary bike for an hour at least 3 times a week for a 12-week period had more blood flowing to their brains, including the parts associated with memory. From daily walks and favorite activities such as gardening to yoga and low-impact aerobic workouts, there are many ways your loved one can stay active.
If you usually help your loved one exercise but need a break now and then, consider having a professional caregiver take over for you. Huntington respite care professionals can assist seniors with a wide array of daily tasks, offering family caregivers the chance to focus on other personal responsibilities or take a break to prevent burnout. Whether it’s for a few hours a day or a few days a week, respite care is the perfect solution for family caregivers who are feeling overwhelmed.
4. Stay Mentally Fit
Older adults can also enjoy a memory boost by staying mentally fit. An easy and fun way to do this is by making an effort to learn new skills, which might involve exploring new hobbies or taking classes designed for older adults at a local community college. Other forms of mental stimulation that can be good for seniors include:
• Doing word puzzles, using memory-boosting apps, and playing board games
• Listening to music or participating in music-related activities
• Exploring artistic projects (e.g., drawing, painting, or sculpting)
Professional caregivers with training in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful source of support for seniors. If your aging loved one needs help managing everyday tasks or encouragement to adopt healthier lifestyle choices, turn to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of home care. Home Care Assistance provides professional in-home caregivers around the clock to help seniors live longer, happier, and healthier lives.
5. Remain Socially Engaged
There’s research suggesting even just 10–15 minutes of daily social interaction can help older adults retain or increase their memory skills and cognitive capabilities because social interactions stimulate multiple parts of the brain. Engaging with friends and family members also presents plenty of opportunities for seniors to use the parts of the brain that hold pleasant memories of the people they interact with on a regular basis. Social activities also give older adults chances to acquire new memories that can be equally meaningful.
Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior care. Huntington families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner in caregiving for your aging loved one. Contact one of our experienced Care Managers today at (304) 521-2909 to learn more about our reliable in-home care services.