Memory loss can be caused by brain injuries or hormonal imbalances, and it can sometimes be a byproduct of the aging process, but it can affect anyone, at any age. Dealing with a loved one’s or your own memory loss can be overwhelming, but there are a lot of ways to strengthen the memory. Here are some tips on coping with memory loss:
1. Eat the right kinds of foods.
There are a variety of supplements, vitamins and OTC medications that claim to boost brain power, but one of the easiest ways to soften the impact of memory loss is to eat well. Nuts, seeds and whole grains all improve focus and memory, and we all know about the brain-boosting powers of omega-3 fatty acids. Eggs, purple fruits (such as blackberries and blueberries) and even chocolate can improve the memory, as can green tea or coffee.
2. Give your body a workout.
There are numerous studies that show the memory benefits of vigorous aerobic exercise. Not only will it help to shed a few pounds, it will increase the amount of oxygen that reaches the brain. Exercise also produces chemicals which protect brain tissue, possibly keeping diseases like Parkinson’s and Alzheimer’s disease at bay. If you or your loved one isn’t quite up to “sweating it out”, simple activities like gardening or walking can help as well.
3. Minimize anxiety.
Coping with memory loss can be as simple as taking a spa day or going for a walk. A little “me time” goes a long way in easing stress and anxiety, and it helps to focus the thoughts.
4. Build a daily routine.
Assisted living is effective for people with memory loss because the setting is one of routine. Practicing everyday tasks and putting together a solid daily routine are a good way to build new neural pathways. Decide which areas you or your loved one are having trouble with, choose a couple, and build them into a daily routine. Practice makes perfect; when these tasks become second nature, you can add more.
5. Put together a “to do” list.
This goes along with the daily routine; a to do list can help to keep one focused- and there’s a certain sense of accomplishment when tasks are crossed off of that list.
6. Get rid of unnecessary distractions.
To center your thoughts, wear earplugs, listen to relaxing music, or remove yourself/your loved one from chaotic, noisy situations.
7. Give your brain something to do.
Simple puzzles and word games can indeed reduce memory loss; they strengthen the parts of the brain dealing with visual and long-term memory. If you don’t like puzzles, try something like journaling or creative writing exercises.
Coping with your own or a loved one’s memory loss or brain injury recovery can be difficult, but there are steps you can take to slow or reverse the process. Don’t overdo it, and take things one day at a time. By working the above tips into your daily life and cutting down on stressful situations, you can make your problems seem more manageable, and get more done each day.