Visiting Angels Lewisburg Blog

Tips to Keep Your Mind Sharp as You Age

As we age, intermittent fleeting memory lapses are normal. The structure and function of our brain does change with age resulting in momentary forgetfulness, such as finding a word, an acquaintance’s name or why we just traveled to the kitchen. We may also find it can be more difficult to tune out environmental distractions or focus our attention for lengths of time. However, the human brain has demonstrated “plasticity” or the ability to make new connections too. Therefore, there are ways to help maintain the health of our brain as we age. Here are a few tips.

Eat Right to Lower Brain Inflammation

A nutritious diet is one way keep our brain healthy. The primary goal is to ensure our brain and body have proper vitamins and nutrients, including foods that help lower inflammation within the brain. Some of these anti-inflammatory foods include: Senior woman solving sudoku puzzle

  • Green leafy vegetables, such as spinach and kale
  • Nuts, such as walnuts, hazelnuts and almonds
  • Fatty fish like mackerel, tuna and salmon
  • Fruits, such as oranges, strawberries and cherries
  • Avocado
  • Whole grains

In addition, drinking plenty of water to flush the system of toxins and hydrate the brain remains continuously important.

Avoid Other Causes of Brain Inflammation

Not only can an improper diet from eating too many refined sugars, high salt or processed foods cause brain inflammation, but other factors can contribute as well including:

  • An unhealthy or “leaky” gut
  • Head trauma
  • Autoimmune conditions that cause systemic inflammation
  • Cortisol production from high stress levels
  • Allergic reactions to environmental factors, such as cleaners or perfumes

Exercise

Exercise benefits brain health and the entire body. The benefits of exercise specific to the brain include:

  • Increased blood flow and oxygen, including creation of additional blood vessels
  • Stimulation of beneficial neurotransmitters in the brain, such as serotonin, dopamine, and norepinephrine, that help fight depression
  • Release of endorphins, chemicals in the brain that help to reduce pain and boost mood
  • Aids with sleeping well at night

Get Organized and Prioritize the Important Things to Remember

Where did I set my keys? Wallet? Purse? Phone? All the day-to-day items and activities to remember can be overwhelming. Now is the time to work smarter, not harder, so that you don’t deplete cognitive energy on the little things. Set up routines and systems so you can find items without even looking. For example, keep the car keys on a particular hook every day, store your wallet in the same place in the house when not in your pocket, and designate a drop zone for your cell phone when not in use. Technology offers many solutions to help us stay organized, such as electronic calendars with reminders and automatic bill payment. Organizational strategies can reduce brain “clutter” and conserve brain power for important tasks.

Challenge Yourself

If you don’t use it, you lose it. The brain is like a muscle that needs exercise and stimulation to keep working at the highest level. The following are effective exercises for the brain:

  • Read a book
  • Complete brain teasers, such as crossword and jigsaw puzzles or Sudoku
  • Play card games
  • Learn something new by taking a class or baking a new recipe
  • Stretch outside your comfort zone through volunteer work or tackling a new project

Maintain a Positive Attitude

We have all been there. That name or word is on the tip of your tongue and you just can’t retrieve it. You are not alone. But just like with most things in life, the way we approach these changes can make all the difference. The better our attitude, the lower stress reaction we have to the situation and the healthier our body and brain will be.

The caregivers of Visiting Angels in Lewisburg are experts at weaving activities into the day to promote brain health and beyond. Contact us today and let us help you customize a plan to meet all the needs of your senior loved one.

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