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Reduce Age-related Memory Loss


Ask the Experts
by David Gilboe

Q: Sometimes I worry about my memory.  I know that everyone says your memory gets worse as you get older, but is that true?  If so, is there anything I can do?

A: We all have skips in our memory sometimes— misplacing our keys, forgetting an appointment. As we age, we wonder if these small lapses in our memory are signs of something more serious, like Alzheimer’s, or dementia.

While not everyone will develop dementia or Alzheimer’s, some memory loss is common as we age. That being said, we can reduce age-related memory loss and improve how our brain works. Here are 5 excellent tips from the Mayo Clinic and the American Psychological Association:

 

1. Stay mentally active.
Mental activity can keep your brain in better shape, and this can be done in a variety of ways. You can do mind games, like crossword puzzles, or computer training games designed to improve mental acuity. You can learn a new language. Even volunteering can help you keep your brain active.

2. Be social.
Participating in social activities can help to reduce depression, which can contribute to memory problems. It also improves longevity of life and overall health.

3. Train your brain.
When you learn new things, try using mnemonics, acronyms and associations to help remember them. Mnemonics use words to remember a sequence. Acronyms simply use the first letter of every word. And associations create a visual link to a name or location.

4. Sleep well.
A lack of sleep can create cognitive problems. It is always in your best interest to seek help if you have trouble sleeping.

5. Be physically active.
There are many reasons to exercise — physical activity can reduce the risk of a variety of diseases, and improve your health physically and mentally. It also has been shown to provide a variety of mental benefits, including improving memory, increasing cognition in older patients, and reducing brain shrinkage. A physical therapist can help you identify exercise activities that are a match for your fitness level and physical condition.

David Gilboe, PT is the President and Owner of David Gilboe & Associates, PC. David Gilboe and Associates have been providing physical and occupational to members of our community since 1979. Dave can be reached at contactus@gilboe.com or 586.779.8892. David Gilboe & Associates is a member of The Family Center’s Association of Professionals.


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