As people age, we begin to lose memories. While a little memory loss isn’t a huge problem, significant and repeated memory issues are a sign of the onset of dementia. When you or your loved ones start noticing these symptoms, plan to incorporate memory retention exercises into your daily routine to help prevent further memory loss.
Encouraging Mental Activity
A large part of memory retention is maintaining an active mind through mental and physical activities. Encourage your loved one to stay busy through memory-boosting activities like the following:
- Art therapy
- Games and puzzles
- Challenge the mind with new activities
Senior-appropriate exercise routines will encourage regular physical activity and, in turn, stimulate cognitive functions to slow memory decline. Find an exercise method that your loved one can do safely and encourage them to work out regularly. Ask a doctor for help if you aren’t sure about safe exercises for seniors.
2) Art Therapy
Music, drawing, dancing, sculpting, and other forms of art therapy are both popular among seniors and effective in memory retention. You can also join your loved one in this activity! Find an art method or a particular dance you’re both fond of and practice it together.
Pro Tip: Take your senior loved one outside to paint a landscape and soak up some vitamin D from the sun!
3) Games and Puzzles
Challenging puzzles and games, card games in particular, are believed to help with short-term memory and to force your brain to keep working. Did the older adult in your life love playing bridge? Help them continue their hobby or learn a new card game entirely. By encouraging short-term memory, these activities can force the brain to continue maintaining long-term memories as well.
Who hasn’t enjoyed cooking at some point? For a senior, the benefits can be twofold. First, the necessity of following a recipe or recalling one from memory encourages the mind to keep working. This, of course, helps with long-term memory improvement.
Second, the particular foods your loved one chooses to cook can help improve their brain functions. For instance, several foods contain high levels of omega-3 fatty acid, an excellent nutrient for a healthy brain:
- Chia seeds
- Soybean oil
Do any of these sound appealing? Encourage your loved one to experiment and make a meal that is both nutritious and tasty.
5) Challenge the Mind with New Activities
One way to stimulate your mind is to try something new. This can be something completely out of the ordinary, such as learning a new language. Alternatively, it can be a variation on a typical daily routine. Encourage your loved one to alter just one part of their day and try to adjust accordingly. For instance, have they ever tried brushing their hair or writing with their non-dominant hand? Even a seemingly trivial change can encourage the mind to keep active.
Healthy relationships and socializing contribute both to good mental health and to brain activity. Encourage your loved one to spend time with others and make new friends. The increased brain activity will encourage good memory retention and help your senior continue to enjoy life.
Encouraging Learning and Memory
In short, the best way to enhance memory retention later in life is similar to maintaining good mental health earlier in life. A balance of socialization, stimulating activities, proper diet, and exercise will do wonders for your senior’s health and long-term memory retention.
Connect with us for more activity ideas and to learn more about preventing memory loss.