Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Memory

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Strategies for Maintaining a Healthy Memory

Memory forms our identities, shaping our experiences, relationships, and sense of self. From recalling cherished moments with loved ones to navigating daily tasks with ease, a sharp memory is fundamental to a fulfilling life.

However, as we age, cognitive decline can pose challenges to this precious resource, underscoring the importance of proactive measures to safeguard our mental acuity.

When is a memory considered ‘unhealthy’?

For older generations, some memory issues are a natural part of aging. Medics predict that 40% of the UK will experience some form of memory loss after turning 65 years old1.

Clinical Rating Specialist Nigel Ball from MAC Clinical Research highlights some of the key signs of memory problems. He said: “Be aware of forgetfulness, such as missing appointments, forgetting names or misplacing items.

“Also, how they engage with others. The repetition of questions or stories and having difficulty joining in on conversations can be a precursor to memory problems like Dementia.

“Finally, look out for loved ones who have difficulty making decisions or who are experiencing uncharacteristic mood swings as this can also be a sign of the start of memory problems.”

How to maintain a healthy mind

In the pursuit of maintaining a healthy memory, adopting lifestyle strategies that support cognitive vitality is paramount. Here are some key approaches to consider:

  1. Staying Physically Active – Engaging in regular exercise not only benefits our physical health but also promotes cognitive function. Aerobic activities like walking, swimming, or cycling enhance blood flow to the brain. In fact, regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing dementia by around 28%2.
  2. Feed Your Brain – Just as our bodies require nourishment to thrive, our brains thrive on a nutrient-rich diet. Embracing a ‘Mediterranean style’ eating pattern abundant in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and healthy fats like olive oil, fish oils, and nuts, can have a 23% reduction in the risk of developing dementia3.
  3. Engage in Mental Stimulation – Keep your mind sharp by challenging it with new experiences and learning opportunities. Engage in activities that stimulate different cognitive domains, such as puzzles or word games. Scientists believe that daily crossword or sudoku puzzles can reduce the onset of dementia by two and a half years4.
  4. Prioritising Sleep – Adequate sleep is essential for memory consolidation and cognitive performance. Aim for seven to nine hours of uninterrupted sleep each night along with a consistent sleep schedule and a restful sleep environment free from distractions. Practice relaxation techniques like deep breathing or meditation to promote restful slumber.
  5. Maintain and Nourish Social Connections – Meaningful social interactions can bolster cognitive resilience. Stay connected with friends, family, and community groups, engaging in conversations and shared activities. Social isolation is associated with a 50% increased risk of dementia5.
  6. Stop Smoking – If you are a smoker, one of the most important things you can do, not only for your overall health but especially for maintaining a healthy memory is to quit. Recent medical research has suggested that around 14% of worldwide cases of Dementia have been caused by smoking6.

While these proactive strategies can significantly impact our cognitive health, it’s essential to acknowledge the reality that memory conditions, such as dementia, may still arise despite our best efforts. In these instances, early detection becomes paramount, offering crucial benefits for both individuals and their loved ones.

Benefits of early detection of dementia

Early detection allows for timely intervention and access to supportive resources, empowering individuals to better manage their condition and maintain independence for as long as possible. Through comprehensive assessments, healthcare professionals can identify early warning signs of cognitive impairment, facilitating personalised treatment plans and lifestyle modifications.

Moreover, early diagnosis enables individuals to participate in clinical trials and research initiatives aimed at advancing our understanding of memory disorders and developing innovative treatments. By contributing to scientific progress, individuals diagnosed with dementia can play a pivotal role in shaping future therapies and ultimately improving outcomes for future generations.

Memory Tests for over 50s

Did you know that MAC Clinical Research established some of the very first memory clinics in the UK? MAC continues to proudly provide free memory tests to the local communities in Lancashire, Merseyside, South Staffordshire, South Yorkshire, Teesside, and West Yorkshire.

At MAC Clinical Research, individuals attending the memory clinic can benefit from:

  • An appointment within four weeks with the specialist team who are registered Dementia Friends7
  • Assessment and discussion of memory concerns in a relaxed friendly environment
  • Explanation of the results of the assessment
  • Liaison with their GP
  • Ongoing memory reviews where needed
  • Option to access potential new treatments via clinical trials

If you are over 50 years old and have concerns about your memory, visit our Memory Assessment Research clinic’s webpage for more information and to register for a free memory test.

1 Alzheimer’s Society – The differences between normal aging and dementia

2 Alzheimer’s Society – Physical activity and the risk of dementia

3 BMC Medicine – Mediterranean diet adherence is associated with lower dementia risk, independent of genetic predisposition: findings from the UK Biobank prospective cohort study

4 Science Daily – Regular crosswords and number puzzles linked to sharper brain in later life

5 Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease Reports – The Impact of Loneliness and Social Isolation on Cognitive Aging: A Narrative Review

6 Alzheimer’s Disease International – World Alzheimer Report 2014 Dementia and Risk Reduction

7 Dementia Friends – Become a Dementia Friend

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