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Senior Health

Memory Loss & Seniors: The Basics

Reviewed by: MySeniorCare Staff
Last Updated: 4/13/2010 5:17:59 PM

Though everyone ages, bodies age in unique ways, including brains. For many, memory loss is a concern, either because of a family history or a personal fear.

There are exercises that can help keep your brain sharp over the years and diminish many problems associated with memory loss, especially during your senior years.

As a country, the United States is starting to get healthier. Americans are eating better, making wiser lifestyle choices and exercising more. All of these factors keep bodies in better shape and let people live longer. Medical advances are also helping to elongate the average American lifespan.

The problem comes when someone's body outlives their mind. As their brain ages, they become less able to remember information and they lose the ability to process information as rapidly as they used to.

Preventing Memory Loss As You Age

One of the best things that you can do to improve your brain's ability to process and retain information (i.e., diminish memory loss) is to exercise your body. Any exercise that refreshes your body can also refresh your brain. The science behind this includes growth of new stem cells and increases in the chemicals of the nervous system.

Moderate exercise is optimal, especially if you are a senior and can break up your exercising into a few sessions throughout the day, rather than an intense session occasionally.

Relaxation is another form of exercise for your mind that can help keep it sharp. Research shows that a stressed mind cannot properly access information leading to problems with memory, which in turn causes more stress, regardless of your age. Taking time out of your busy schedule to focus on a beautiful classical piece of music or to enjoy a cup of tea can make a tremendous difference in allowing you to retain and remember details of your life.

New information is constantly becoming available about how the human brain functions. One study discovered that part of the difficulty people face as they age comes from not being able to sort through irrelevant information quickly enough to focus on the information they need.

Learning certain new skills can help people focus to a greater degree. This may assist them in later years when information overload can occur. Skills such as learning to play a musical instrument, reading out loud or playing a board game and interacting with others can exercise the brain and create new neural connections.

Changing Your Routine

Additionally, changing your daily routine a little can make a big difference in preserving brain function. For example, brush your teeth with the opposite hand, drive a different way to or from work, go shopping at a store you aren't familiar with, or do a daily routine with your eyes closed.

Making small changes daily can create long-term changes in defeating memory loss in the long run. Even in your senior years, you can affect large changes in memory retention using these techniques.

Regardless of which of these exercises you bring into your life on a regular basis, you will find that your attention and processing abilities will improve now and into the future, which will lead to a happier, healthier life for you and your family.

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