“The month of November is known as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month. President Ronald Reagan made that designation in 1983 and it is something that is still recognized today. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, at that time there were less than two million people with the disease.
Through the years that number has grown to more than five million. Alzheimer’s disease is a type of dementia that leads to memory, thinking, and behavior problems. It is the most common form of dementia, accounting for 60 to 80 percent of all cases. It is also the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.”- Jeff Hoyt- Senior Living
- Memory loss
- Misplacing items
- Forgetting the names of places and objects
- Repeating themselves regularly, such as asking the same question several times
- Becoming less flexible and more hesitant to try new things
Although Alzheimer’s disease is progressive and irreversible we can still begin taking the steps today towards improving our memory in hopes of preventing the disease. Here are a few tips you can do daily to keep those brain juices flowing.
Complete Daily Puzzles
The more challenging the better. I personally love doing word search puzzles but you can also do crosswords, math puzzles, trivia puzzles, cryptogram ciphers, Sudoku’s, anagrams- scrabble sets, rebus puzzles, semantic games like ‘codenames’, spelling games, charades, or try solving a Rubik’s cube.
For added intensity- start a timer and see how fast you can solve the puzzle. These games can really help you expand your vocabulary, increase your critical thinking skills, word comprehension and spelling.
Play Video Games
I know men and boys get a lot of backlash (mostly from women) about playing video games so much but, playing video games actually does help to keep your mind sharp. Studies show video games that involve problem solving in order to progress and complete objectives will surely improve your memory by 12%. Also, gaming gives the benefit of a high attention span. To play video games for hours without getting distracted is honestly admirable to me. Having close attention to detail can be a great advantage when used in the real world.
Learning new languages is so much fun. Am I the only one that thinks everything sounds so much better in a foreign language other than English?. I currently enjoy using Duolingo because it’s cheap and very beginner friendly. All you need to do is dedicate at least 5-10 minutes a day. The repetition will force your brain to remember more words. I love making flashcards to test myself often. Also, you can listen to foreign music, watch foreign TV shows, and utilize subtitles. In addition to memory, language learning improves listening comprehension.
Read, Read, Read
Whenever someone tells me that they hate reading, I give them a mean side eye. How do you NOT like acquiring knowledge, expanding your mind, seeing life through another person’s perspective, and having a vibrant imagination?. With so many book genres out there, there’s no reason why you should be bored when you can pick something that you actually enjoy reading. Your reading material of choice can be a novel, a magazine, the local newspaper, a comic book, eBooks, or even the ingredient list on the back of the shampoo bottle, just please read something.
Listen to Audio
Music is not only a great way to boost your memory but it can also boost your mood and improve your mental health. Listening to and performing music activates areas of the brain associated with memory, reasoning, speech, emotion, and reward. Music can a very beautiful spiritual thing because you are hearing someone express everything that you feel.
If you don’t want to listen to music all the time you can opt for listening to a podcast, watching and listening to the TV, invest in a white-noise machine, or just sit outside and listen to the sounds of nature. Sitting in a super quiet room for long periods of time can be super detriment to your mind. Have you ever noticed how the time passes by easier when you’re listening to something?. Which is why I always like to have some type of noise in the background unless I’m trying to sleep.
Write Things Down / Journal
I highly believe- if you don’t write it down, it won’t get done. I am someone who am so grateful for calendars, to-do lists, note pads, and planner books. I run straight towards the stationery section whenever I’m in Target, Walmart, and especially Michael’s. I made a post about The 4 Benefits of Journaling and one of the benefits is that it improves your memory. Keeping journals over the years and being able to go back and read them is truly like living life twice. So of course when you write often you are constantly spelling and comprehending words.
Take More Pictures
This is closely related to the benefits of writing things down. Pictures are worth a thousand words. I love finding old pictures that I completely forgot about but when I see the picture it automatically brings back the memories of that specific day or time. I love that good nostalgic feeling. Take pictures, print them out so they don’t get lost in cyber space, and put them into a photo album to share with your children, their children, and so on..
Maintain a Healthy Lifestyle
My wellness tips to maintain a positive and strong mind is to stay active, sleep well, drink water, meditate for at least 5 minutes per day, socialize with others, talk out loud to yourself, eat more veggies and include more fish in your diet. Fish is rich in omega-3 fatty acids. Omega-3s are crucial for brain growth which is why it’s so highly recommended for the elderly and pregnant women- for their infant’s development. When getting enough omega-3s, you can expect to see high intelligence and better communication and social skills. The older you get the more daily intake of omega-3s you will need.
For an added boost, take herbal products like St. John’s Wort for positive mood support and Gingko Biloba for healthy brain function & circulation. I would suggest preparing them as a tea if you’re NOT about that ‘swallowing huge capsule pills’ lifestyle, like me.
Resources & What You Can do to Show Support
- Encourage older family members to get free memory screenings.
- Donate to an Alzheimer’s disease organization.
- Participate in your local Alzheimer’s disease walk-a-thon (post-COVID).
- Create awareness and provide education to others. Ex: Sharing personal stories.
- Wear the color purple.
In Loving Memory Of..
Ms. Lorraine Riddick (June 2, 1923 – March 1, 2003)
My beloved great-grandmother who passed away from Alzheimer’s disease. I love and miss you dearly. This post is dedicated to her.
Till next time,