Memory loss in old age is a normal condition, but in more severe cases it can be a sign of the onset of dementia and can be challenging for both the senior and their family. However, it is not an insurmountable issue. Memory can be improved, and today you find out the best ideas for brain activities, beneficial dementia memory aids and general advice on how to help loved ones suffering from memory loss in old age to support your loved ones.
What are the causes of memory loss in old age?
Memory loss in old age of many can have many causes, including being the result of the natural ageing process of the brain, neurodegenerative diseases or other medical conditions, so it is worth consulting your doctor when you notice the first signs of memory loss. Below are some of the most common causes of memory loss in older people:
Brain ageing processes – the ageing process affects brain function, including the ability to process information and remember.
- Neurodegenerative diseases – diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease, Parkinson’s disease and multiple sclerosis are associated with neuronal damage or loss, leading to memory and cognitive impairment.
- Neurological disorders – disorders such as Huntington’s disease, Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease and vascular dementia can also lead to memory loss and other cognitive impairments.
- Somatic diseases – diseases such as Parkinson’s disease, ischaemic heart disease, diabetes, thyroid disease, and vitamin and other nutrient deficiencies can affect brain function, including memory processes.
- Medication – certain medications, such as benzodiazepines, statins, some painkillers, and drugs for high blood pressure and depression, can affect memory and other cognitive functions.
How to improve memory?
Are you wondering how to improve the memory of your ageing loved ones? Here are some tips on the process, the most effective ideas for brain activities, and dementia memory aids. Improving memory in an older person can be difficult, but various strategies can help maintain and improve cognitive function. Here are some suggestions:
Older people should adhere to the healthy lifestyle rules, including regular physical activity, a well-balanced diet, avoiding smoking and drinking alcohol in moderation.
Regular memory games such as puzzles, crosswords, board games and writing can help maintain cognitive function. Here are some popular activities that can help improve memory and cognitive function:
- Crosswords and puzzles – solving crosswords and puzzles requires then working memory and cognitive function, which can help improve them.
- Board games – Board games such as chess, Stratego, and Scrabble require strategic, logical and memory thinking, which can help improve cognitive function.
- Computer games and apps – there are many computer games and apps designed to improve cognitive function, such as Lumosity, Elevate and CogniFit.
- Crossword dictionaries – solving crossword dictionaries requires memorising many words and their definitions, which can help improve memory.
Learning new skills
Learning new skills, such as foreign languages, playing a musical instrument or art, requires memory and concentration, which can help improve cognitive function.
Exercises involving movement
Physical exercises, such as yoga, tai chi or walking, can help improve cognitive function by increasing blood flow to the brain and releasing endorphins.
Dementia memory aids
Creating a note-taking system or using tools such as calendars, task lists, and reminders can help to maintain external memory and organisation. There are many useful tools and strategies that can help people with dementia to maintain their memory. Here are some examples:
- Calendars and clocks – dementia patients can have difficulty keeping track of time, so calendars and clocks can be a great help. They make it easier for the person with dementia to remember what time of day it is, key dates, and to recall significant events such as medical appointments.
- Task lists – task lists can help people with dementia to organise their daily routines. This can be a simple paper list or a task list on a smartphone app.
- Photo and object descriptions – photo and object descriptions can help people with dementia to remember who is in the photo, what the object is called and its purpose. This can be particularly useful if the person with dementia has difficulty remembering faces or the names of things.
Elderly people should maintain their mental health and avoid prolonged stress and depression, as these factors can negatively affect brain function.
Maintaining social activities such as conversations, meeting family and friends, or participating in clubs or organisations can help to improve cognitive function and memory.
How to improve memory – conclusion
Improving your memory is not easy, but it is achievable, so be sure to put our advice into practice and help preserve the memory of your loved ones.