Cognitive decline is a concern for many seniors, but there are plenty of things you can do to prevent it. Do you know how to keep your mind sharp as you enter your golden years? Brain teasers can help, but many other tools are available for savvy seniors, too.
How to Keep Your Mind Sharp
If you’re a senior, odds are good that you’ve experienced a “senior moment” or two. Momentarily forgetting someone’s name or misplacing an object isn’t necessarily a sign of age-related cognitive decline. Still, it can make a senior wonder if it’s time to start getting proactive about brain health. The good news is that there are many ways to keep your brain healthy and active as you age. Learning how to keep your mind sharp is a bright idea for any senior.
Don’t Believe the Myths
Ironically, one of the best ways to keep your mind sharp as you age is to believe you can keep your edge. There’s a lot of misinformation about seniors and cognitive decline, leading some seniors to believe it’s inevitable. That belief can, unfortunately, lead some seniors to give up on keeping their minds sharp before they begin. The good news is that the opposite is also true. Seniors who internalize positive messages about retaining cognitive skills are more likely to exercise their brains.
Use Your Brain in New Ways
One of the easiest ways to keep your brain sharp is to find new ways to use it. Challenging your brain with new information and processes stimulates your brain cells. That’s why learning new things consistently is associated with better mental functioning for seniors. If you want to keep your mind sharp, look for ways to introduce yourself to new ideas. Read up on new topics, take interesting classes, and converse with new people. If you’re looking for a more significant shakeup, try a novel challenge like volunteering with a cause you care about. You never know what you’ll learn.
Use All Your Senses
An intelligent way to improve your memory is to use your senses as a memory aid. That’s because when you attach sensory information to a memory, more of your brain is used to create and store it, which means more of your brain is activated when you recall it. For example, smells can be a powerful tool to evoke memories. You can take advantage of this by looking for ways to use your senses when remembering things. Think about the sights, sounds, and smells associated with your favorite memories, and use them as needed. Tools like memory boxes can also be beneficial for age-related memory loss.
Make It Easier When You Can
It’s a good idea to be proactive about your brain health, and that means challenging yourself and practicing your memory skills is a good idea. However, your brain will be unable to keep up unless you give it a chance to rest and recover. So, while you’re looking for ways to challenge your mind, you can also think about some tips and tricks that will make your life easier:
- Use organizers, calendars, post-it notes, and other tools to keep track of things you need to remember.
- Have a designated area in your living space for things you use frequently, such as your wallet or reading glasses. Be sure those items are in their place at the end of every day.
- When you learn something you want to remember, repeat it out loud and consider writing it down.
Learning how to keep your mind sharp in your senior years is only half the battle. Translate this knowledge into action if you want to reduce the likelihood that you’ll experience cognitive decline. Good luck!
Are you planning to retire in Greenville, South Carolina? Be sure to check out The Gables on Pelham, a continuing-care retirement community that welcomes seniors from all walks of life. We offer flexible and personalized care, including assisted living, memory care, skilled nursing, and rehabilitation. You’ll love our cozy accommodations, fun-filled events calendar, and welcoming community atmosphere. To learn more, please schedule a tour or call us at 864-713-1377.