Senior Center

Top Ways for Seniors to Boost Their Memories

By Jan Bolder - January 17, 2014

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The brain, while not a muscle, needs to be used frequently or its ability to work as powerfully and efficiently as possible will be lost. Luckily, the ways in which it can be worked are simpler and more available than you might think.

Sleep Well

Sleep is one of the single-handedly most important things anyone can do to improve memory because the brain solidifies and forms new memories during sleep. It also gives the rest of the body a chance to recuperate and ready itself for the next day, causing seniors to be free to focus on whatever they want instead of noticing every ache and pain.

Eat Well

Along with getting a full, good night's sleep, eating well can tremendously help seniors boost their brainpower. The brain has a steady source of blood flow to it- just like any other part of the body- and needs to be nourished, too. Some of the top brain foods include Omega 3 fats that can be found in fish and fish oil; fruits and vegetables; whole grains; antioxidants; and green tea. It's also important to avoid excessive caloric intake.

Exercise

Any type of exercise that gets blood flowing through the body helps the brain. It increases oxygen intake, which is a necessary component for the brain to do well. And by exercising, the body works in tandem with the brain to sharpen the senses, improve reaction time, and boost muscle recovery, strength and repair.

Mind Games

One of the easiest ways to improve memory is to constantly use it and test it. Activities like crosswords, Sudoku, word searches, reading, writing, playing an instrument, dancing, singing, and playing cards all use the brain in different ways, stimulating memory and keeping it sharp.

Spatial Awareness

The brain is constantly using maps to help you navigate geographical locations in a variety of ways. Although these maps become more and more set with age (think of the tracks a toboggan makes in snow), rewiring these maps to improve spatial awareness helps the brain remember locations, routes and landmarks much more efficiently.

Get Organized

Some simple tricks are putting things back in the same place every time, writing things down, and keeping to-do lists. While these may seem counter-intuitive in that memory doesn't seem to be directly involved, it helps it a number of ways: keeping things in the same place creates memory routines, writing things down boosts memory by creating different types of maps, and to-do lists force the brain to constantly ask itself what else it has to do. There's also a phrase that supports this argument: a cluttered home reflects a cluttered mind.

Socialize

Humans are innately social creatures, and engaging in socializing regularly has a direct impact on memory. Getting together with friends and family (if they're positive experiences!) can help ward off depression and stress, both of which negatively affect memory. If family and friends aren't always an option, getting social interaction by volunteering works just as well.

It only takes as little as a few minutes each day to notice an immediate increase in memory, and there's at least one tip that any senior can use to boost their memory.