Tips for Keeping Mentally Sharp As You Age

July 14, 2015

newspaperAnyone over the age of 50 has probably lapsed into what is jokingly referred to as a “senior moment.” Perhaps there is a scientific cause of these temporary memory losses, or maybe seniors just have so much information collected in their brains that pulling out a single factoid is hard sometimes. While aging is inevitable, there are many ways to keep your brain as sharp as a tack. Here are a few tips for keeping mentally sharp as you age.

Watch Your Numbers

When cholesterol, blood pressure, or blood sugar reaches an unhealthy level, people can develop heart disease or have a stroke. These conditions lead to less blood flow to the brain, which is also harmful to mental acuity. Keeping these numbers in check through exercise and healthy eating is a good start. Many researchers believe that people who stay away from saturated fats and instead eat lots of vegetables and fatty fish (rich in Omega 6) are at a lower risk of mental decline. Maintaining a reasonable weight and not smoking are also associated with better cognitive ability.

Keep Yourself Organized

Let’s face it, we all can use some help for organizing. Using both pictures and words when taking notes can help improve recall. Putting things down in calendars, date books, and mobile phones can free your mind for concentrating while learning.

Seek Educational Experiences

When we are children, we learn through auditory processes (hearing) and visual processing (seeing). As we age, we continue to learn just as we did as kids. Continual learning helps keep the adult mind in better condition for remembering things later. Seek out a class geared towards seniors or learn something new that interests you. Games and puzzles like crosswords or Sudoku are also great solo activities that can help keep up mental acuity.

Keep Socially Active

In retirement, there is often a huge hole that develops in seniors’ social interactions. At work, there were social interactions with the people in the office. At home, we are often alone or interact solely with our partners. To find a way to enhance interaction with others, join a bridge club, book club, or the local senior citizen community center – enjoying time with others helps your mind stay active and alert.

Ask For Help

Depression – a critical issue that affects cognitive processing – can sometimes arise in the retirement years. According to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation, six million of the forty million people in the United States over age 65 suffer from depression. Some of the clues that someone over 65 may have treatable depression include difficulty sleeping, weight and appearance changes, difficulty concentrating, or feeling helpless or worthless. If you or a loved one suffers from depression, don’t be afraid to get help from medical professionals.

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