Advancing age comes with many concerns, one of the most significant is memory loss. Like any other part of the body, the brain changes over time. While significant brain issues such as Alzheimer’s can develop, for most people simple lapses in memory, while distressing, are a normal part of the aging process. Just as significant, it is important to know that mental function is not solely at the mercy of time. According to a study published by Harvard Health Publishing, significant memory loss is very often not due to aging but outside factors, many of which can be changed to improve memory function. Here are some ways you can proactively protect and improve memory function to keep your brain sharp.

An up-close shot of a senior man playing Sudoku to keep his brain sharp.
A senior man doing a Sudoku puzzle at home.

Look at Common Culprits That Inhibit Memory

Before you can effectively improve memory, it is important to consider outside factors that could be inhibiting memory function. Many medications that are commonly taken by and prescribed to seniors, such as sleeping pills, antidepressants, pain medications, and muscle relaxants can all cause memory issues. Alcohol and tobacco use also impact memory loss. Talk to a physician about your medications or that of your loved one to find out if a change may be appropriate. 

Talk to a Physician About Stress or Depression

Common health issues such as high blood pressure, stress, or depression can significantly impact memory function. If you or a loved one experiences any of these health issues, talk to a physician. 

Exercise Your Memory

Engaging in daily memory exercises can help keep your brain sharp. It can be as simple as memorizing a list of items such as a grocery list or playing memory games.

Learn Something New

Learning a new skill improves your memory as well as provides a sense of accomplishment and well-being. The process of learning a new skill or hobby stimulates the brain, causes us to internalize new information, and think creatively. All of these things keep the mind active which improves memory function. 

Play Thinking Games

According to a study published by The American Geriatrics Society, playing thinking and problem-solving games such as crossword puzzles regularly can keep the brain sharp for an additional ten years. These types of activities can help with processing speed and reasoning ability which both directly impact memory. 

Eat Well and Exercise

Brain function is directly related to eating a healthy diet and exercise. Focus on moderate exercise and eating fruits, vegetables, low-fat dairy, and whole grains, and avoid foods that are high in saturated fats.

Get Proper Sleep

Too much or too little sleep can have a negative impact on memory function. To keep your brain sharp, sleep during normal hours for appropriate durations. 

Get Social

Enjoying the company of others and staying active in the community helps stimulate the brain and improve memory. 

Actionable Solutions to Help

Oftentimes, taking the steps to improve memory requires additional support. For example, it may mean medication oversight, help in preparing healthy meals, additional companionship, or having an advocate at doctor’s appointments. Family Tree In-Home Care specializes in creating healthy partnerships that come alongside a senior that enable and enhance capabilities with services that can provide the additional necessary support that helps seniors stay sharp.

To learn more about Family Tree In-Home Care, please contact us. We’re always happy to help answer your questions.