Memory lapses can happen occasionally at any age – like the name on the tip of your tongue that you can’t quite remember. For many people, however, memory failures happen a lot more frequently when they become older.
This does not mean that severe memory loss is inevitable with aging. Research has shown that there are tips and tricks to help keep your memory sharper in the years to come.
Take a Walk
There is a great deal of evidence to show that physical exercise can help preserve mental function and memory with aging. Walking for half an hour a day is one of the best things you can do for your body and your brain. Regular exercise can help prevent or reduce several contributing factors to memory loss, including:
- High cholesterol
- High blood pressure
Get a Mental Workout
Mental exercise is good for you, the same as physical exercise. Any mentally challenging activities can help you keep your mind sharp as you grow older. Examples of such activities include playing cards, reading books, working crossword puzzles, or playing on a brain-training app on your phone.
Stay Socially Engaged
Social activities can help your memory and your mood. The more social connections people have, the better they can preserve mental function and memory. Depression is a contributing factor to dementia, and depression occurs more often in socially-isolated older people.
Eat a Mediterranean Diet
A recent study found that people who follow a Mediterranean diet are less likely to have memory problems and cognitive impairment. This eating plan includes olive oil, an abundance of fruits and vegetables, and fish as an alternative to red meat.
Get a Good Night’s Sleep
Normal, restful sleep is important to attention, concentration, and mental function. To sleep better at night:
- Go to bed and get up at the same time every day.
- Avoid eating a big meal before bed.
- Avoid smoking and other forms of nicotine.
- Don’t have caffeine or alcohol close to bedtime.
Stress is bad for the brain and the rest of the body. High cortisol (stress hormone) levels make it difficult to pull information from the memory. Try massage, yoga, aroma therapy, nature walks, or whatever it takes to reduce your stress.
Get Checked for Medical Conditions
Certain medical conditions can cause memory loss. These include:
- Vitamin deficiencies
- Thyroid disease
Certain medications, including drugs prescribed for sleep and anxiety, can also cause memory loss. If you are worried about losing your memory, have your doctor try to reduce sleep and anxiety medications and evaluate you for any underlying health conditions.
Make Use of Memory Tricks
If you have difficulty remembering certain things, memory tricks can help. When you learn someone’s name or a new word, say it out loud several times to help establish the name or word in your memory. Some people mentally connect a new name or word with an image for reinforcement. Post-it notes placed in strategic locations or reminders on your phone can help you remember important events or routine tasks, like taking your medications.
Personal Emergency Response System
With the right personal emergency response system, all you need to do in a crisis is to push a button on a pendant or bracelet to get help on the way. An operator standing by to answer your alarm will already have your address and be able to send emergency assistance immediately. Some of these advanced systems offer the option of medication reminders.
If you are a senior who likes to travel, a cellular-based mobile personal emergency response system may be your best option. GPS tracking can alert the operator to your location, wherever you happen to be when an emergency occurs. Our medical alert comparison is designed to help you find the right personal emergency response system for you.