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"Yes, forgetting can be a curse, especially as we age." - Michael Pollan celebrated American journalist and author.
It's no secret that memory loss and ageing go hand-in-hand. From forgetting your house keys to skipping your medicine, we all experience it from time to time.
While memory loss is not inevitable, it is not an uncommon occurrence either, and the degree to which it affects individuals can vary. Obviously, we can't turn back the biological clock, but we can slow its side effects. Let's understand how.
Here are some handy tips that the elderly can practice on a daily basis to improve their memory and relive their most precious moments again, just the way they remember it.
Engaging in any kind of physical activity aids in blood circulation, relieves stress levels, and improves moods. Collectively, these factors help in enhancing your memory and also put you in a positive mood?
To get started, you can opt for going to regular walks or start going to yoga classes; there are plenty of options to choose from. These are not only extremely beneficial cardio exercises but also double up as a great opportunity to make friends and socialise.
Additionally, you could do some research and find out if there are "Happy Clubs" and dedicated parks where the elderly frequent. Imagine starting the day with a warm cup of tea, amidst like-minded company. Sounds interesting, doesn't it?
Puzzles, crosswords, chess, or Sudoku - take your pick. Like the body, the mantra for a healthy mind is simple: The more you exercise it, the better your energy levels will be, and by extension, the better you'll get at retaining information and boosting your memory.
It's also important to be more mindful when undertaking routine tasks. Studies suggest that the elderly are more prone to temporary memory wipeouts due to constant distractions. So make sure to increase your concentration when engaging in daily tasks and see the magic happen.
Staying organised is not just for posting pictures on social media or for displaying a disciplined, military lifestyle. It is good for our brain as well. One way of staying organised includes writing stuff down on a notebook. Once it's on paper, you'll not have to bother remembering it, and hence, you won't strain your memory too much.
Another tip could be allocating spaces for specific objects so that you're always aware of where specific things are. For instance, get a key holder and ensure that the keys always hang there or put your medicines right next to the bedside table and label them so that you never miss taking them.
Whether you're a toddler or are someone nearing old age, eating a balanced diet is everything. Studies link nutrient-dense diets with strong-thinking skills. We have become the 'Supplement Generation'. More and more people are increasingly inculcating vitamin pills in their diet. Now, add to this mix, the endless list of prescribed medications (thanks to the pre-existing health issues) and our seniors end up ingesting a mountain of pills that are neither useful nor healthy.
Focus on eating foods that are rich in omega-3, fatty acids, and folic acid, as well as vitamin B, C, and D3. Additionally, add leafy vegetables, protein, healthy fats, and unrefined whole grains to your complete diet. Also, remember to drink plenty of water and avoid fried food at all costs. That said, make sure to consult your doctor before making drastic dietary changes.
Research suggests that the brain processes all the experiences when one's asleep and stores it in our memory. The conclusion? You need to get at least eight hours of sleep in order to enhance your memory. If possible, take short naps during the daytime and ensure that your body is relaxed when going to bed. Guided meditation audio clips and deep sleep calming audio clips can be of great help.
The moment we say 'social', everyone starts thinking of Facebook, Twitter, and the works. But here, we aren't implying the social media. Sure, it's a great medium to find your long lost school friends, but we suggest you take your conversations out of the screen.
Aim to meet old friends from your neighbourhood or the community. According to AARP, people with low levels of satisfaction relating to their social network can be subjected to decreased cognitive functioning over the years. That's not all. Social relationships encourage them to take better care of their health and learn new things. Need we say more?
Whether it's engaging in a mentally intensive activity or a physically exhaustive one, your body always sends signals whether you need to stop or keep going. Overindulgence, under indulgence, or engaging in multitasking can lead to greater stress which can be the biggest roadblock in the enhancement of your brain's cognitive abilities. Try to revisit your hobbies and take advantage of the time you have on your side. Take music lessons, start gardening, travel, or volunteer for a charity; there is a multitude of options that will keep you on your toes and in good shape mentally, as well as physically.
Haruki Murakami often quotes how memories have the power to warm you up from the inside, and it's a luxury every individual has the ability to enjoy. So, take note of these simple, doable tips and be on your way to a rewarding journey that's worth remembering.
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