How to Improve Memory: Simple Ways to Sharpen the Elderly’s Mind
Aging process begins at conception. As the individual reaches advanced years, the risk of physiologic and functional impairment increase. As the person ages, several changes in all the body systems are notable, from the integumentary, cardiovascular, reproductive, nervous and other body systems. One type of the biologic theories of aging- the wear-and-tear theory proposes that, humans, like automobiles, have vital parts that run down with time, leading to aging and death.
Based on studies, as one becomes older, brain decreases in size. Although, studies do not support its probable effects to mental problems among elderly, it is still undeniable that the sign marks the many changes in the nervous system including a very vital function- the memory. Memory, or the ability to retain information, is also a component of intellectual capacity and is closely related to learning. Once the memory is lost, all the other functions of the body follow as manifested by the signs and symptoms of Dementia, stage III.
Common elderly problems leading to mental confusion and memory loss
Reaching old age is not very fulfilling for most people. This does not only entail an increase in age and getting closer to the end of the line but to losing several acquaintances as well. An elderly may no longer be at work that lessens the people to whom he or she can interact with. Being weak and slow, grandma may no longer want to go out from the house and meet other people. All these, limit the brain to explore and work well through formed conversations. Sadly, this may not only lead to poor interpersonal relationship but also, will stagnate the brain in processing relevant information.
Loss of work due to old age or retirement
Thinking about not working anymore for a living is quite rewarding and relaxing, but truth is, this life transition is not very helpful to the brain. This may cause mental processes to become dull as one no longer engage much in complex thinking and problem solving. The workplace, though is many times a stressful environment, can keep the mental juices flowing. The elderly, after retirement, may no longer have an avenue to exercise those brain cells making most of them just die a slow death. When this happens, the elderly may come to a point wherein even the loved-ones are no longer recognized and simple tasks no longer performed.
Strategies to a healthy mind and memory improvement
Avoid serious debilitating illnesses and diseases
Above all others, physical health is highly important. Certain diseases can incapacitate someone from doing certain activities of daily living, aside from that, some body systems may be affected, like the nervous system that may lead to mental or cognitive problems. For example, hypertension can lead to stroke that affects particular area or areas of the brain. Damage of the Broca’s area can cause inability to talk and in the Wernicke’s area, the inability of the brain to process information sensibly. Avoiding accidents, exercise, lifestyle modification and eating the right kind of food can certainly do the trick for this one.
Develop and maintain healthy relationships
Elderly people must be encouraged not to isolate themselves. They must learn how to socialize and engage in certain organizations or groups. They can be a part of spiritual gatherings or clubs that will enable them to meet new people and make fun interactions. They should be given a chance to get out from the house and develop relationships. The old should not be held captives in their own homes and in a world that will soon be filled with empty thoughts.
Maintain cognitive function
Maintenance of cognitive function is achieved through engaging into brain teasing activities and by simply making daily decisions. The activities that can be of great help are reading, interacting with other people, answering questions, story-telling and solving easy to complex problems. The elderly should not be considered brainless because they are old. Intelligence does not disappear over time so there is no reason to treat the old people as dumb. If possible, no matter how boring they may sound at times, they have to be listened to in their stories or sentiments as these will allow recall of events and can therefore aid to improve memory.
Promote adequate rest and sleep
Young people who have well-working brain cells need ample rest and sleep, therefore, all the more are the old ones whose neurons are already deteriorating. When a person does not get enough rest and sleep, the brain also becomes dull and tired. The neurons all the more weaken leading to ineffective mental functioning. Most of all, sleep is very necessary as memory- enhancing activities happen during the deepest sleep.
Eat a well-balanced and age appropriate diet
Food is vital to life. Without the nutrients that are acquired from foods, the cells cannot function properly. Nutrients nourish the body to keep it healthy and strong. What is a well-balanced diet? A well-balanced diet is a group of foods, served as meals that contain the necessary nutrients for the body to use. This has all the foods in the food pyramid in their specific amount or servings per day. But for elderlies, the intake of food must be properly monitored. Since the body is no longer functioning to its full capacity, foods served or eaten must be appropriately planned and selected to meet what the body needs.
To improve memory of the elderly it does not necessarily imply cracking themselves with trivia, diet and exercises. The steps are so simple. One of the most important things to make this possible for the old people is for them to have a strong support system that are always willing to go extra mile for their betterment and improve memory instead of contributing to the development of dementia.