Alzheimer's art

We all have lapses in memory, and the older we get the more common it is to forget someone's name, misplace the car keys or miss appointments.

Genetics, aging and medical conditions all affect the brain and play roles in cognitive loss, but scientists have identified ways to minimize age-related changes and improve everyday memory function.

You can protect your memory by following a healthy diet, exercising regularly, keeping mentally active and socially engaged. Additionally, studies have shown that having positive beliefs about aging can improve memory performance in older adults.

A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids, fruits and vegetables, 8 ounces of fish weekly and walnuts and unsalted nuts are important in maintaining a "fit" brain and memory. Experts advise eating 80% of what you intend to at each meal and to eat with utensils so that you will eat less and pay attention to eating more healthy foods. You also should eat fewer processed foods. 

Aerobic exercise will help the heart and feed the brain with the oxygen. It also promotes cognitive functioning, such as memory, and is now believed to relate to positive structural changes in the brain. Walking 6 miles weekly, dancing, gardening, biking, and hiking all adding up to at least 150 minutes of exercise a week, help promote cognitive functions and reduces the risk of Alzheimer's.

Maintain your social circle, building friendships and family relationships. Participation in social and community activities improves mood and memory function. Wait longer to retire. Socialization, not isolation, will stave off Alzheimer's disease and dementia-related disorders.

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Mental workouts are essential, and challenging the mind can help it grow and expand, which may improve memory. Learn something new like a second language or how to play a musical instrument. Take up a new hobby. Read. Write. Do things with your nondominant hand. Play board games or do puzzles. Travel to new places.

Also, monitor your stress levels and sleep habits. Incidences of higher stress and lack of sleep can contribute to loss of memory and can impede the brain’s ability to perform at optimum level.

Slow down your hurried life. Meditate and practice relaxation techniques such as deep breathing and muscle relaxation. Praying on a daily basis can enhance your immune system. Participate in regular worship.

Identify what your stressors are and how they affect you and identify ways to handle them. In a society where everyone feels they have to constantly multitask, don't be afraid to say no.

The memory snags that occur normally during older age are subtle and do not have to interfere with daily life. In fact, you can easily adapt to them by making lists, establishing routines, using associations and employing memory aids.


Questions about Alzheimer's disease or related disorders can be sent to Dana Territo, the Memory Whisperer, owner of Dana Territo Consulting, LLC, at thememorywhisperer@gmail.com.