Take Charge of Your Brain Health
Mari Pat McAuliff, CTRS, Director of Memory Care Services
Throughout your life, your brain's job is to help you make sense of the world, help to oversee your daily function and well-being. Brain function also includes the ability to learn, remember, pursue and enjoy leisure, concentrate, and maintain a clear, active mind. The strengths of your brain also include managing information, logic, judgment, perspective, and wisdom. Brain health is all about making the most of your brain and helping reduce some risks to it as you age.
Age is not the only thing to blame for brain decline, though. Like a muscle, your brain needs constant exercise to stay in shape. Modern society deprives us of essential mental exercise since earlier oral history was the only way to spread culture to younger generations. There were no telephones, televisions, or computers distracting attention and distorting the ways in which brains processed information. As a result, a strong memory was an essential part of everyday life. Modern technology denies crucial exercise to certain areas of our brains in two important ways, causing it to atrophy:
- We are exposed to numerous sources of stimulation which constantly disrupt thought.
- We no longer need to remember phone numbers, addresses, dates, or even basic navigation because our phones have replaced our memories.
These factors train your mind to forget and place you at risk for an earlier onset of cognitive decline. But wait, you don't have to toss that phone or computer out the window! Here are some things you can do for better brain health.
Learn more. It's never too late to take a class, read, or play a game. Keep those neurons on fire! Think of the things you've always wanted to do.
Take charge. Manage your health, know your medication and their side effects, limit or avoid alcohol all together. Challenge yourself both physically and emotionally. Know what is important to you and go get it!
Get moving. Older Americans need on average 150 minutes of exercise a week. This helps to increase blood flow to the brain and reduce falls and strokes.
Stay connected. Socialize, engage with others, volunteer and pursue leisure. This contributes to keeping your mind sharp, provides a sense of belonging, deters depression, and keeps the mind diversified.
Eat right. Grab an extra helping of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, and lean meats like fish and poultry as well as low fat or non-fat dairy. Avoid excessive fat, salt, and sugar. Remember to always eat proper portions.
Destress. Stress is significant in effecting brain health. According to Psychology Today, neuroscientists have found that chronic stress triggers long-term changes in the brain structure and function. Find those leisure activities that increase joy in your life.
You don't have to look far for brain power solutions. Capri uses the six components of wellness to build its program of events so it's easy to maintain the best brain health possible. Something fun, fresh, and new can be good for you, too! You simply have to choose a program, which even might remotely interest you, and just get out there! Talk to a Lifestyle Enrichment Specialist for suggestions. Wishing you great brain health and power galore!
Newsletter Article: Memories Through Artwork
Read the full June newsletter.