Mental health and memory are closely tied to physical health. Physical and emotional vitality are important to maintaining mental health. As you or your loved one gets older, and become less able to do some activities, replacing lost activities can help keep a positive attitude and sense of well-being over time. If you can no longer run, try walking for example. But just as physical health needs upkeep, so does memory and mental health.
Protect or improve your memory and mental sharpness by:
- Challenging your brain daily. Read, learn a new musical instrument or language, do crossword puzzles, or play games of strategy with others. Just like an active body, an active brain continues to develop and thrive, while an inactive brain loses its power over time.
- Help your memory. Write down dates, names, and other important information that you easily forget. Use routine and repetition. For example, keep daily items such as keys and eyeglasses in a specific place. No matter what your age, having too much on your mind can keep you from remembering new information. And as you age, it is normal to take longer to retrieve new information from your memory bank.
- Preventing depression, which is a common yet treatable cause of cognitive decline in older people. In addition to getting regular physical activity and social contact, avoid the depressant effect of alcohol and sedative use, eat healthy meals and snacks, and include meaningful activity in your daily life.
- Not smoking. Cigarette smoking may speed mental decline. This connection was identified in a large study comparing smokers and nonsmokers age 65 and over.