OMG! What did I do with the check my parents just gave me for my birthday this past Sunday? Have you ever heard the phrase, I’m having a senior moment? Or better yet, have you ever experienced a senior moment? Having just celebrated a birthday that now makes me eligible for a 55+ retirement community, I wondered about the true meaning of a “senior moment” since I’d just had one!
I did some research and found out that as we age, we actually do lose brain cells and once enough brain cells die, senior moments can occur. We lose brain cells because we’re not getting as much oxygen to the brain or enough glucose to our brain cells — and that causes certain brain cells to starve and die.
Do you remember when your entire family had one telephone number? Now, the average person has a cell number in addition to a home number and if you’re on the family call plan, each individual family member has their own set of numbers. Living in this 21st century age of technological advancements has caused more challenges to our memory because quite frankly, whether younger or older, we’re all on absolute information overload.
Brain Fitness – Use it or Lose it
Fortunately, research is yielding new ways to improve our attention to sharpen memory and keep it strong. Try these helpful hints as part of a healthy lifestyle:
- Say it Again, Sam – To help get a routine lodged in your brain, say it aloud as you do it. Repeat it to yourself to stay on track.
- Divide and Conquer – When you shop for groceries, think of your needs in terms of meals or projects. For example, if you need bread, milk and eggs, think breakfast.
- Create Unlikely Connections – Remember tying a string to your finger to remember? This concept works because it triggers or jogs the memory to focus on something significant since tying a string is unusual and causes you to wonder why you did it.
- Relax – De-stress, take deep breaths, think of something pleasant. This will help you re-focus and remember.
- Socialize and Connect with Others – Get out or have people over. Staying in touch with others to have fun helps get our minds off stress and re-charges our brains.
- Exercise – Good nutrition and exercise also help, by providing healthy fuel and oxygen that the brain needs to function properly. No age is too young — or too old — to start exercising your brain.
Many scientists now believe that social interaction is key to maintaining good mental health and warding off diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s. Elder Connections recognizes that we can do much to protect our brains and one of its most important functions, memory. This is good news for those of us baby boomers who are aging and also caring for aging parents.
Evelyn A Fiumara, B.S. -Community Liaison, Elder Connections