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  • May 03 2022
  • Wellness

5 daily activities to help with memory retention in over 70s

As humans one of our defining features is our ability to store, retain and retrieve information. Our memories determine how we perceive the world around us and identify us as individuals. We go through life relying on these memories to work, build relationships and carry out our daily tasks.

As we get older, it’s common to forget things from time to time and to experience mild memory loss. It can be frustrating, but don’t worry, there are a few daily activities you can do to help improve your memory.

Get enough sleep

It might surprise you, but a lack of quality sleep is associated with poor memory retention. For years scientists and researchers have looked into how sleep affects memories and it’s believed that memories are preserved and discarded during sleep.

Therefore, if you aren’t getting enough sleep it could be negatively affecting your memory. According to the Sleep Health Foundation Australia sleep:

  • Prepares our brains for learning new things.
  • Helps new information ‘stick’. During sleep, the brain replays memories from the day, making the neural connections stronger. This helps us remember the things we experienced when we were awake. Different stages of sleep play a role in forming different types of memory, such as learning “how” to do something (like playing a piano) compared to learning facts.
  • Helps our creativity, helping us find new solutions to problems by looking at things in a new way while we sleep. You may have heard people say they will ‘sleep on it’ in order to solve a problem or make a decision.

Eat a healthy diet

Eating a balanced, healthy diet low in refined sugar and saturated fat has always been the key to maintaining peak physical fitness, but do you know that it can also help with your cognitive abilities?

Some of the best things to eat to improve your memory as you age include:

  • Fruits and vegetables.
  • Nuts and berries.
  • Healthy fats such as those in the mediterranean diet (avocadoes, olive oil, oily fish, small amounts of red meat).
  • Fermented foods such as kombucha, kefir, yoghurt, kimchi, miso and sauerkraut.
  • Reduce alcohol consumption – Drinking excessive amounts of alcohol can cause memory problems.

Physical exercise

Physical exercise isn’t only good for your body, it helps your mind too. Seniors who engage in physical activity. Aerobic exercise raises your heart rate and increases the blood flow to your brain. Exercise increases the size of the hippocampus, which is the part of the brain responsible for memory and increases the connections between the nerve cells in the brain to improve memory.

Keep your brain active

Your physical muscles aren’t the only ones that need exercising, your brain needs a workout too.

Keeping your brain active as you age is essential and improves cognitive function and memory. When you challenge your mind and stimulate your brain it’s not only good for you, it keeps you busy and entertained.

Some great activities to improve memory retention for seniors include:

  • Memory card games.
  • Crosswords, sudoku, puzzles and word-recall games.
  • Tetris and mobile apps.
  • Learning a second language.
  • Singing songs.
  • Reading.
  • Knitting, painting and craft.

Practice mindfulness

Mindfulness is about focussing on the present moment and is used in meditation. Practicing mindfulness in your everyday life can lower stress and improve concentration and memory. You can practice mindfulness by:

  • Meditating.
  • Focusing on your breathing – taking deep breaths in and out.
  • Walking in nature.
  • Journal writing.

At HillView Care we’re here to help

We place a strong focus on helping our residents stay as independent as possible.

At HillView Care we provide an engaging environment for our residents to connect with each other and keep their minds active through a range of activities and outings organised by our diversional therapists.

If you’d like to know more about our residential aged care and the activities available, or take a look around our Merrimac or Ashmore homes, book a tour or request a callback and we’ll be in touch soon!

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