The Aging Body: Mind and Memory

From time to time, we all forget the name of an acquaintance or fail to recall where we placed the car keys. Those lapses are common and nothing to worry about. But our memories do fail more regularly the older we become. Here are a few tips to staying sharp as we age:

  • Clean Living. Stay away from too much alcohol and don’t smoke. Smoking can cause hardening of the arteries and increases blood pressure and heart rate. Excessive drinking can slow the relay of information between brain cells.
  • Move and Learn. Exercise, like walking, swimming or dancing, increases blood flow, which improves mental functions. We should challenge our minds, too, by learning new tasks, such as digital photography, computer skills and even quilting.
  • Eat Well. Even though food would seem to be more about our heart and digestive system, it also benefits the brain. Stick with vegetables, whole grains, fruits, skinless poultry and lean meat. A healthy diet reduces the risk of vascular disease, which is bad for the brain and memory.
  • Talk. Visiting with friends and being socially active can stave off depression and stress, both of which are associated with memory loss.
  • Keep Blood Pressure Low. Vascular disease, often cause by high blood pressure, has been linked to dementia. Additional research is needed to determine if lowering blood pressure definitively helps in the fight against dementia. But why take the risk?

There is good news, too. Our memories typically remain strong through our 70s. Some research indicates the average 70-year-old performs just as well on certain cognitive tests as people five decades younger. Here at The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, we do our best to help all our residents stay mentally active and meet the needs of advancing age through a variety of programs. To learn more, please call us today at 772-332-1000.

Deniese Williams, Executive Director of The Cabana at Jensen Dunes, is a registered nurse with a Master of Science in Nursing and more than 20 years of experience in the long-term care industry.