Memory and brain functioning change with age; for many older adults, memory changes trigger worry that something is not right. Psychologists, healthcare providers, and other trained professionals are able to evaluate for abnormal memory changes and suggest strategies for coping and treatment.
Here are 3 strategies to support memory and brain functioning:
1) Get enough sleep. Try to get a normal night’s sleep as much as possible. Some people are able to function on only 5 hours of sleep (by choice) while others need 10 hours of sleep. Restorative sleep helps the brain to make new memories and process information from the daytime. Restorative sleep also helps with daytime mood and concentration- two factors that can influence memory storage and recall. If you have chronic sleep difficulties that you are not able to solve, I may be able to help or you can consult with your primary care doctor.
2) Nutrition and Supplementation. As a disclaimer, always consult with your primary care doctor/medical professional prior to making major dietary changes or adding on a supplement; additionally online articles and blogs are not meant to take the place of routine medical care. In the Handbook of Clinical Nutrition & Aging, Giles et al. identify research supporting the use of vitamin B6, B12, folate, vitamin D, berries & grapes, green tea, chocolate, omega-3 and omega-6 fatty acids, and the Mediterranean Diet to support cognitive functioning with aging.
3) Move ! When exercise increases your heart rate, your breathing rate (and oxygen availability) increases brain cells and brain volume- which helps to prevent against the effects of cognitive decline. Exercise also supports brain function such as the survival and functioning of brain cells, improved memory and learning, and improved information processing and mood. This information should definitely motivate you next time you are doing a set of burpees or walking up an incline!
As you consider personal goals or new year’s resolution goals, add in something related to lifestyle medicine and/or self-care. Stay tuned for the next post where I offer suggestions on how to set goals and stick with them! If you have any questions or need counseling help, send me a message or call.
<3 Be well !
All blog posts from Dr. Soo Hoo are provided for educational and informational purposes only. As Dr. Soo Hoo is a licensed clinical and health psychologist, we must make it clear that nothing on the blog is intended to constitute medical or psychological advice, consultation, recommendation, diagnosis, or treatment. If you are concerned about your health, please seek appropriate care in your area.