Memory is just one of the brain’s many functions. Many people are concerned about losing their memory and developing dementia. While changes in memory occur throughout our lifetime, they become more noticeable as we age. But there are ways to manage the process and preserve memory functions. Here are five tips to help accomplish that goal:
- Strive to create new memory connections. This means seeking out more social interactions and opportunities to engage with people.
- Maintain a positive attitude. Recognize the brain has plasticity, so you can learn or re-learn skills throughout life. This requires commitment and practice.
- Mentally stimulate yourself. Whether through brain games, reading, or intellectual pursuits, these activities promote memory and cognitive functioning.
- Stay healthy. Exercise regularly and practice good nutrition to keep your brain healthy.
- Enjoy hobbies and other activities. Think about what you’ve lost interest in and find ways to replace or develop new pursuits.
Change the perception
So how can we extend our lives? Tune out the negative. Focus on the positive. Instead of using the word “old,” substitute “wise,” “mature,” “seasoned” and “experienced.” Think about it: in most cultures, elders are typically revered for their accumulation of knowledge and experience. Even those who haven’t accomplished much of special merit exhibit a time-tested combination of cultivated skills and experiential wisdom that rightly inspires humility in younger people (who do well to capitalize on their insights). So, almost by default, age demands more than a modicum of respect.
With the right information and mindset, people can learn how to approach one’s later years with optimism and determination, recognizing that no one ever has to lose their cultural edge. After all, people are living longer, healthier lives every day, all over the world. A huge part of why aging seems to come upon people suddenly and overwhelmingly is because people don’t take the steps early on that will give them the best possible chance of living long, healthy and meaningful lives.
Consider the aging process with a healthy mixture of acceptance and enthusiasm. This mind shift leads people to live happier (and often longer) lives. Known as the chronologically gifted, these people regard their age as a gift, the seal of a lifelong journey for which they are profoundly grateful. It’s a journey that began at birth and one they hope to continue through a personal legacy that immortalizes them in the memories of others. Facing their own mortality, the chronologically gifted are determined to live with significance, passion, and purpose in the here and now.