As we age, it’s natural for us to become more absentminded. You may lose track of your keys more frequently or find yourself walking into a room only to forget why. But there’s a chance these minor inconveniences can progressively become worse and start to impact your day-to-day life. You may forget important dates, find it difficult to solve problems or feel lost doing tasks you would normally consider to be routine.
Far too few people consider how to approach common memory-related issues early on. But it’s never been more important. Dementia is on the rise, with more than 6 million Americans over the age of 65 living with Alzheimer’s today. While there may not be a cure yet, there are several steps you can take to improve your brain health and keep your memory sharp.
Rely less on technology
As artificial intelligence (AI) technology continues to evolve, it will become easier for us to depend on it for things we previously relied on our memory for. For instance, family members’ phone numbers are saved in our contacts, we can now ask our home devices to relay our grocery list, and so on. Almost everything we need to remember can be saved on our electronic devices. But at what cost?
Stimulate your brain
Similarly to ways we keep our bodies in shape — yoga, walking, lifting weights — we need to do the same for our brain. To keep your memory sharp, challenge yourself to daily word puzzles or math problems. You may also test your memory by reading a chapter in a book and then summarizing what happened. Put pen to paper for double the benefit. In addition, pick up a new hobby that encourages creativity, like painting or drawing. Stimulating the brain this way can create new connections between nerve cells and improve your overall brain health.
Follow physical health best practices
Many researchers have studied meditation and its ability to improve general well-being. And that includes cognitive performance and emotional balance. Proper sleep, nutrition, and exercise also play a role. In fact, they help ensure you experience less stress, which is important because stress hormones put a strain on your brain.
If you notice a slow decline in your memory, thinking, or reasoning skills, schedule a health screening with your primary care physician. Especially if you’re over the age of 65, have been diagnosed with another health issue such as diabetes, or have a family history of cognitive illness.
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