As we age, many of us begin to have issues with memory. Regardless of your age, it is critical to work on maintaining the brain’s health. Health-conscious nutrition and regular exercise are the essentials to maintaining your health as you age however there are a number of ways to do more. Whether you are horrible with remembering or simply getting older, here are some things you can try that can enhance your memory.

 

Eat a Balanced Diet with Brain Boosters

For memory to improve, your brain needs the right nutrients. The brain can get much of the nutrition it needs from a balanced diet that features lean protein, whole grains, and a variety of produce. Reducing your overall caloric consumption and saturated fat intake is also highly recommended. Other brain boosting foods include:

  • Wine (in moderation)
  • Grape juice
  • Fish high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as: halibut, salmon, tuna, and trout. If you’re not a fan of seafood, try: walnuts, kidney beans, pinto beans, flax seed, spinach, and broccoli.
  • Green tea

 

Get Plenty of Sleep

Make sure you are getting the recommended seven to eight hours of sleep a night. As we age, some require less sleep however our bodies still need ample time to heal and repair themselves. Sleep-deprivation not only decreases cognitive function, it affects your judgement, critical thinking, and problem solving skills. All of this affects your ability to consolidate and retain memories. You need the deepest stages of sleep to promote memory retention; these stages only come from longer periods of restful sleep.

 

Practice

The more you practice, the better your memory will get. Watch your favorite show on television then try to recall as many details as possible right after; then try again the next day. If you can recall most of the details, you have a fairly good memory. Memory exercises can be found throughout your everyday life. Try memorizing lists such as names of presidents, all 50 states, etc. Smart phones and tablets also offer a number of brain boosting apps that are perfect regardless of age. The most popular include: Lumosity, Brain Trainer, and Brain Fitness.

 

Visualize

Try using object visualization whenever you need to remember. For example, if you need to remember a doctor’s appointment, try visualizing a watch with the appointment time wrapped around your doctor’s wrist. When you need to remember a grocery list, visualize the store and the path you’d take to get everything you need. Visualize yourself putting things in the cart, and associate them with why you need them, such as a specific meal or preferred treat. You can also use visualization to walk you through what you need to remember. For example, it may help to close your eyes and imagine what you were doing when you made the list, where you were, and when it may have been.

 

Chunk Together Items

Instead of trying to remember a long string of numbers, such as a phone number, chunk it into smaller pieces of information. Remember the first three numbers, then the next two, and the next two. For example, if a phone number is: 555-6712, then focus on 555, then 67, then 12. If it helps if you can make associations with the numbers, such as, “My mother turned 67 in 2012.” You can also use chunking to remember who you need to email or what you need at the grocery store. For example, let’s say you need to email: Carl, Connie, Rachel, Robert, and Sara. Remember 2 Cs, 2 Rs, and 1 S or CRS and your brain may recall  a little easier.

Working a little at a time, every day, can help dramatically improve your memory over time. There are many other techniques you can use, so be sure to talk to your doctor if you are looking for even more ways to enhance your memory.

 


To learn about other common health concerns among senior, check out our Health and Conditions page. We also provide information on senior care options on our Assisted Living page.


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