Our fast-paced world has probably increased the risk of having senior moments or mental lapses. Multitasking makes it hard to remember things because of our inability to give undivided attention. Meanwhile, others are suffering from the stress and fatigue caused by our jobs, reducing our ability to focus.
There are plenty of causes for senior moments, and one of them is loneliness. This is why most families take their senior loved ones to a home nursing facility to get the treatment they need while getting a good amount of socialization with other residents.
If your senior loved one has been encountering more senior moments lately, you can do something to help. Here are ways to address senior moments and live a fulfilling lifestyle.
Stimulate the brain
Several studies reveal brain plasticity is always present during the entire aging process. Brain plasticity refers to the ability of the nervous system to re-wire itself and modify its functions, connections, and structure. This discovery led researchers to speculate that cognitively stimulating activities can maintain brain function and delay mental decline.
The secret lies in finding the right activity to stimulate your brain. We would often hear that table games, such as crossword, puzzle, and Sudoku, are mentally stimulating activities. But experts say the impact of strategic games and brain teasers aren’t enough to create new neural pathways. If you really want to maximize the benefits of brain stimulation and decrease the risk of dementia, try learning a new hobby or a new language to truly stimulate your brain neurons.
Be more social
Research shows loneliness and social isolation promote the risk of detention and premature death from certain causes, such as obesity, smoking, and lack of physical activity.
Loneliness is directly correlated with mental health concerns such as anxiety, depression, and suicide. But keep in mind social isolation isn’t always equivalent to being alone. Some people may experience loneliness even if they’re surrounded by their friends and loved ones. During the COVID-19 pandemic, studies show a significant increase in rates of depression, specifically among older adults. This explains why it’s important to foster meaningful relationships regardless of your age. So if you’re living with a senior parent, it’s important to emphasize the value of socialization and friendships.
You may consider bringing them to an assisted living community to get personalized care while they socialize with other senior residents. This is a healthy distraction instead of leaving them at home with no one to talk to.
Engage in physical activities
People seldom associate physical activity with brain health. They think it only affects the heart, weight, and overall physical health. But several studies reveal exercise is particularly useful in enriching cognitive ability and increasing brain cells.
Regular exercise has more health benefits than you imagine than simply keeping you in shape. It promotes the production of small blood vessels that transport blood to the brain and stimulate its ability to create and maintain neural connections.
So if your senior loved one has been spending their time following an unhealthy and sedentary lifestyle, it’s about time to encourage them to get up and move throughout the day.
Nourish the brain
A balanced diet isn’t only good for physical health, but good dietary habits positively affect the brain as well. Medically prescribed diets, such as the Mediterranean diet, have surprising health benefits for aging adults who have a higher risk of dementia. Eating seafood and plant-based foods while reducing red meat further decreases the risk for Alzheimer’s disease by 40%.
At the same time, make sure to monitor water intake because even minimal dehydration affects memory, analytical thinking, and processing speed.
People who frequently experience high stress levels are more likely to encounter various adverse effects on the brain and physical body. Experts have proven that chronic stress results in the deterioration of the brain’s memory area, which negatively affects cognitive ability and nerve growth over time.
Although it may seem unrealistic to eliminate stress from our life, learning how to manage it well can make a huge difference. You can do it by taking time to meditate, relax, and do deep breathing exercises to decrease the risk of memory decline. Another way is to try techniques to improve sleep quality. Sleep can clear unnecessary debris in the brain by consolidating memories and nourishing the brain cells.
Senior moments do happen frequently as you age, but there are ways to prevent them from ruining the quality of your life. The secret lies in making a few lifestyle changes and engaging in meaningful activities. With the right lifestyle choice, those senior moments can reduce into occasional annoyances.