773 E. Haverford Road • Bryn Mawr, PA 19010

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Give Your Brain a Daily Workout to Stay Mentally Sharp as You Age

The popular physical fitness adage, “Use it or lose it,” seems to apply equally well to the “gray matter” between our ears. According to reports from credible sources, such as the Alzheimer’s Association, the Mayo Clinic and the National Institute of Health, regular activities that stimulate the brain and “give it a workout” have proven beneficial in maintaining mental acuity as we age and potentially preventing Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

The Good News on Maintaining a Healthy Brain

According to the Alzheimer’s Association article, Brain Health, the health of your brain plays a critical role in almost everything you do: thinking, feeling, remembering, working, playing — and even sleeping. Like other parts of your body, your brain may lose some agility as you get older, and it can deteriorate even more if you don’t take care of it. The good news is that there is now evidence that there are specific steps you can take to help keep your brain healthier as you age. These steps might also reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s disease or other dementias.

George Salloom, Executive Director of Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, says, “As scientific research on the aging brain and memory loss advance, we continue to learn more about how the brain ages, ways to keep our brain functions sharp, and methods for stimulating the brain to improve the well-being of those with Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia. Today, leading memory care assisted living communities utilize the latest research-based techniques to care for their residents, but the guidelines for keeping the brain healthy and functional as we age has great value to everyone.”

Tips for Keeping Your Brain in Peak Condition

Experts in brain health believe that a physically active and socially engaged lifestyle, combined with good nutritional habits, regular mental stimulation and adequate sleep are the keys to promoting brain fitness and delaying the onset of memory loss for as long as possible. For the best results, they recommend following a lifestyle routine that includes:

  • Regular Exercise and Physical Activity – Physical activity promotes brain health. It is essential for maintaining good blood flow to the brain as well as to encourage new brain cells. Regular physical activity that includes an adequate cardiovascular workout can also significantly reduce the risk of heart attack, stroke and diabetes, and thereby protect against those risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other dementias. Neuroscientists recommend a variety of activities, such as dancing, gardening, more frequent use of the non-dominant hand and leg, and walking 10,000 steps on a daily basis. 
  • A “Brain Workout” – Mental decline during aging appears to be largely due to altered connections among brain cells. However, research has found that keeping the brain active seems to increase its vitality and may build its reserves of brain cells and connections. It might even be possible to generate new brain cells. To maintain your brain, experts recommend taking part in activities such as reading, crossword puzzles, board games, learning a new language, taking a class, painting, increasing your exposure to classical music and acquiring new skills. 
  • Social Activities and Human Interaction – Scientific research shows that people who regularly engage in social interaction maintain their brain vitality and reduce their risk of dementia. Social activity not only makes physical and mental activity more enjoyable, it can also reduce stress levels, which helps maintain healthy connections among brain cells. According to Your Brain Healthy Lifestyle, it is important, to remain involved in the community, to build a growing network of family and friends, to be actively engaged in life and to always have a purpose for getting up each day.
  • A Good Night’s Sleep – Getting sufficient sleep is another key ingredient for brain health and overall physical health. Our sleep patterns can change as we age. Therefore, it is essential to get the amount of sleep your body needs so you have the energy to engage in activities that can keep you mentally sharp.
  • A Nutritious, Brain-Healthy Diet – A balanced, nutritious diet is also essential for body and brain health. The latest research suggests that a diet high in cholesterol may contribute to stroke and brain cell damage. Conversely, there is growing evidence that a diet rich in dark vegetables and fruits containing antioxidants may help protect brain cells. The Dietary Guidelines for Americans (U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and U.S. Department of Agriculture, 2010) provides science-based advice on food choices for good health.

Try to put all of these lifestyle tips into practice. Remember, their combined effect can be much greater than any one of them individually.  

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Our brand-new Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr community provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comforts of home. Our community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be “Family,” Again

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If, and when, the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. For more information, please call Sharon at (484) 380-5400, or contact us online.

Disclaimer: This information should not be construed as Impressions at Bryn Mawr Terrace or Main Line Senior Care Alliance offering legal advice. For legal advice, please consult your attorney.