Stay­ing Sharp!

Simply Her (Singapore) - - Parents 101 -

Keep mem­ory loss at bay among se­niors with th­ese ac­tiv­i­ties: PLAY MEN­TALLY STIM­U­LAT­ING GAMES Strat­egy games like chess or bridge and word games like Scrab­ble or crossword puzzles keep the brain in shape. Con­sider num­ber puzzles too, like Sudoku, or even singing (they have to re­mem­ber the lyrics)! SO­CIALISE REG­U­LARLY Stress and de­pres­sion can con­trib­ute to mem­ory loss but hav­ing a so­cial life can stave off th­ese con­di­tions. Look for op­por­tu­ni­ties for your par­ents to get to­gether with loved ones and friends, es­pe­cially if they live on their own. Buy them tick­ets for cul­tural and mu­sic events or en­cour­age them to do vol­un­teer work. And get them con­nected on so­cial net­work­ing sites like Face­book. EAT A HEALTHY DIET Foods that are high in an­tiox­i­dants, like berries, tart cher­ries and green tea, as well as those rich in omega-3 fatty acids, such as salmon, tuna and wal­nuts, can help pre­vent brain cells from get­ting rusty. Drink plenty of flu­ids too – se­niors who are even mildly de­hy­drated can suf­fer from cog­ni­tive im­pair­ment. EX­ER­CISE DAILY Phys­i­cal ac­tiv­ity in­creases blood flow to the brain and en­cour­ages the de­vel­op­ment of new brain cells. Ex­perts rec­om­mend at least 150 min­utes of mod­er­ate ex­er­cise (like brisk walk­ing), or 75 min­utes of vig­or­ous ex­er­cise (like jog­ging) a week. This should be spread out across the week, and can even be bro­ken up into a few 10-minute walks through­out the day. Af­ter all, it’s been shown that walk­ing 10-14km a week can slash the risk of de­vel­op­ing mem­ory loss by half. GET PLENTY OF SLEEP Sleep is nec­es­sary for the brain to form and store new mem­o­ries. So make sure your par­ents snooze for at least seven hours a night – sleep de­pri­va­tion can stop the growth of new neu­rons in the brain, caus­ing prob­lems with con­cen­tra­tion, mem­ory and de­ci­sion-mak­ing. It can even lead to de­pres­sion, another mem­ory killer.

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