Best Ways for Seniors to Keep the Brain Healthy
June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month. So here are some interesting facts about the brain and some healthy brain activities for seniors.
Did You Know?
- It’s a myth that humans only use 10% of their brains. Neurologists confirm that you use every part of your brain, and that it’s always active — even when you sleep.
- The human brain can generate about 23 watts of power — enough to power a lightbulb.
- When a neuron is stimulated, it generates an electrical impulse that travels from cell to cell at 268 miles per hour.
- A piece of brain tissue the size of a grain of sand holds 100,000 neurons and 1 billion synapses.
- Your brain’s storage capacity is considered virtually unlimited. Each of your, approximately 86 billion, neurons form connections with other neurons, which can add up to one quadrillion connections. However, when neurons become damaged, as they do with Alzheimer’s, they stop working and negatively impact memory.
Healthy Brain Activities for Seniors
More than 6 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s, most of them older adults. While there are no definitive ways to prevent Alzheimer’s, there are some things seniors can do to reduce their risk of developing it.
In most cases, Alzheimer’s develops as a result of complex interactions of multiple factors such as age, environment, lifestyle, genetics, and coexisting medical conditions. You can’t change your age or your genes, but you can take action to boost your brain health and lower your risk factors.
Get regular exercise. Workouts that raise your heart rate and increase blood flow throughout the brain and body can reduce the risk of cognitive decline. One study found that getting regular exercise can help revitalize brain cells. Go for a brisk walk, take a swim, or learn how to use senior-friendly exercise equipment.
Keep learning. Puzzles and brain games are fun, but giving your brain a real challenge does some long-term good. The Global Council on Brain Health recommends seniors have regular involvement in tasks that challenge the way you think. These are called cognitively stimulating activities (CSAs). CSAs help you generate new neurons and create new neuron connections. So try learning a new skill, or take a challenging class to keep your brain sharp.
Eat a brain-healthy diet. A healthy, balanced diet can feed your brain and improve its function. This study suggests incorporating the following foods:
- Salmon — Low levels of omega-3 fatty acids have been linked to lower mental function, so boost your intake of this important nutrient.
- Walnuts — Vitamin E can help reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
- Green tea — The enzymes, amino acids and vitamins in green tea can help boost brain function and improve mental fatigue.
- Eggs — The choline in eggs is important for maintaining memory and facilitating communication between brain cells.
- Blueberries — These tasty fruits have been shown to improve short-term memory loss.
- Spinach — Folic acid in spinach and other dark leafy greens can improve memory and help prevent dementia, especially in women.
Get enough sleep. Insomnia, sleep apnea, or simply not sleeping enough can impair memory and thinking skills. Sleep deprivation can also increase the buildup of the protein in the brain that’s linked to Alzheimer’s. Getting enough sleep, however, can help you maintain those critical pathways in the brain.
Memory Care at Eagle Senior Living
We’re here to support you and your family wherever you are in the senior living journey. We can help you learn more about Alzheimer’s and about how Memory Care is designed to support loved ones with different forms of dementia. If you have any questions, find an Eagle Senior Living community near you and call today.