When you depend on a bright and sharp mind for work, it’s no wonder if you worry a bit about losing its functionality as you age. Alzheimer’s and general memory loss is, after all, something way too many people suffer from – and if you’re not worried about yourself, you probably have a family member or two who you care about.
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While there is never a guaranteed way to keep your mind around for as long as possible, there are ways to make it just a bit more likely. Here is a handful of ways to get you started so that you can take even better care of your own brain or your loved ones.
It involves a lot of delicious food, after all, and a healthy dose of activity and fun as well so you really don’t have anything to lose by including more of this in your daily life.
First: Have fun, laugh, and talk with others
Let’s start with the sad stuff first; it’s common knowledge that, as we age, a lot of people get increasingly lonely. They might have lost their spouse and lifelong companion at one point and struggle with finding back to the kind of social balance they depended on him or her for.
At the same time, they have children who are all grown up now and in the middle of their most hectic 40’s with children, full-time jobs, and a generally stressful life. It’s not to say that this is the norm and that it always needs to be like this – but it’s a sad fact that a lot of seniors experience loneliness.
Luckily, we can definitely do something about this and try to think a bit more about our older family members. Having fun is, in short, the best way to keep a healthy mind and even a healthy body. Sharing a large burger-meal with friends and loved ones over a good conversation is, in fact, much better for you than consuming a large bowl of steamed broccoli all on your own.
Take care of your own mental health as well as those around you, first of all, by simply being there for them and ensuring that they know how much they are loved and needed. After this, you can start to focus on all the boring stuff; you know, eating right, being active, and all that.
Next: Play games together
We’ll get to the boring stuff in just a bit but, since this is all about keeping your mind sharp for longer, it’s a good idea to remember how we used to develop our brains, to begin with. Playing games, doing crosswords, and reading are just as good for us when we’re old as it was when we were little – in fact, there’s hardly a time when these activities are not good for us.
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Since you’re committing to spending more time with your older loved ones, it’s extra thoughtful to suggest a few games once in a while. Sure, you even bring your Nintendo Switch over and enjoy a game of Mario Kart if you like – as long as you’re having fun and challenging each other, it’s great news for their health.
Plus, they might not have played this game before and will have to put in some extra effort when learning the controls and getting used to playing the game. This will boost their minds a bit too, you know, and you’ll be having a lot of fun while doing it.
In case your older family member prefers a good old-fashioned game rather than all of those new and fancy ones, you can always just bring a deck of cards over or even a game of Memory. Any activity thing that requires you need to think a bit will keep their minds sharp as they age and they’ll definitely be able to sharpen their memory, in general, as well.
This is good for you too, you know, so try out a couple of new games together once in a while. Have fun, stay challenged, and you’ll be left with lots of great memories of your weekend afternoons together.
Think about their diet too
Now that we’ve covered all the fun stuff you can do together, it’s time to make sure that they’re eating right. If your family member lives in a nursing home, you can always have a chat with one of the nurses about their diet; they will most likely know quite a lot about this and you’ll feel reassured that your aging parent or family member gets the food they need.
Another point to this, though, is that you should make sure that you’re also getting the kind of food that is good for you while you’re still reasonably young. Protein is great for your brain as well as your body, in general, so eat up those eggs, have some chicken for dinner, and treat yourself to a protein smoothie after a good exercise.
While you don’t need to go full-out, body builder-level on your diet, you should still make sure that you’re eating more than enough protein.
Besides protein, you’d want to get enough of those healthy fats in you on a regular basis. Luckily, this is really tasty food too and you’ll be eating it without even hesitating. Avocado, salmon, nuts, and the yolk of your eggs will ensure that your brain gets the fat it needs – and your heart will certainly love you for it too.
You can have a look at this article for even more brain-boosting food besides from healthy fats and proteins.
Get active as often as possible
The older we get, the more sedentary we tend to become as well. It has a lot to do with our energy levels, of course, but keep in mind that the effort you make in terms of establishing a good exercise routine while you’re still young will have a huge impact on how active you stay as you age.
Active seniors are often avid nature-walkers, fishers, campers, and hikers. It’s because they have fun while doing it, of course, and they certainly don’t have time to force themselves into activities they dread either. Getting outside in the sunshine is healthy and is great for absorbing vitamin D which your body needs.
Promise yourself that you’ll find activities that you actually love doing and never again push yourself into exercises you hate; life is too short and you definitely won’t stick with them either.
Dancing is great as you get older, by the way, because it boosts your brain, is good for your muscles and balance, and you’ll have an opportunity to be more social too. Take your family member out to dance once in a while and you’ll be considered the best son, daughter, niece or nephew in the world.