By June Brown
Antioch’s elderly population is merely 9% and of this figure, 20% are living alone according to SeniorCare.com. Living alone has many implications including loneliness, isolation and even memory problems. While aging is a normal process, there are things that can be done about memory failure. The good news is there are ways to boost memory and for seniors who are living solo, it helps if memory is intact improving quality of life and their safety.
Who says no one can change bad habits even if already old? For the elderly, now is a great time to think about those lifestyle changes. There are several ways to enhance and improve memory and one of them is to follow healthy diets and exercise.
Eating well-balanced meals, including lots of greens and fruits as well as important omega-3 fatty acids can keep brains alive and healthy. A diet rich in proteins, lean in carbohydrates and low in bad fats helps brain cells which in turn promotes good memory.
Antioch has an abundance of fresh food markets such as Kaiser Permanente Antioch Farmers’Market, Brentwood and Pittsburg Markets. Eventbrite is a good source of food and drink events in Antioch where seniors can go such as the upcoming Fall Harvest Festival 2017 and the Acorn Workshop.
Studies also validate that exercise and getting into physical movement can reduce sedentary living which can lead to diseases such as heart attacks, high blood pressure or certain types of cancers. If every senior works out at least 150 minutes a week, it would boost memory and thinking skills (Harvard Health Blog, 2014).
Antioch offers many gyms where the elderly can exercise. There are parks for quiet walks and relaxation. Contra Costa Canal Trail and Contra Loma Regional Park & Swimming Lagoon are great places to go for a walk, hike or a swim. There are golf, bowling and skating facilities for sports lovers and active seniors.
Brain Games and Exercises
The brain like any other part of the body needs to work out. Stimulation is part of keeping brain cells healthy and strong. There are many ways older adults can boost brain power and improve memory with simple daily tasks such as reading and doing crossword puzzles. Playing chess, trying computer games, and learning new things (language, sewing or musical instruments) also help. By being mentally active, the brain remains sharp slowing down its degradation over time or as one ages.
Another factor that contributes to memory retention is socialization. Isolation is not a positive thing as it brings depression, anxiety and stress, factors that contribute to memory loss. Meeting new people whether by going to functions, eating together or volunteering at charities prevents negative psychological effects improving mood, memory and cognitive function. There is a correlation between socialization and dementia incidence. The longer the brain stays inactive, the more likely it will stagnate. Social engagement is important to keep it functioning well. It also forces people to respond and the brain to react.
The Antioch Community Center and Southeast Community Center organize activities for older adults to do things together. They also hold social events on a regular basis. Older adults can also try some of the restaurants that won in the 2017Antioch People’s Awards after a night of bingo. Consider China City for Chinese or go to Celia’s for Mexican. The object is get out more often, meet people and do things together whether it is a haircut at Reign Salon or a massage at Relaxing Station.
Lifestyle changes, brain exercises and socialization are activities that older adults can easily do to improve memory. Enhanced memory also improves the quality of life, something every senior cherishes as the journey continues.