Reaching 60 years old is a wonderful milestone, and it is a great time to start researching ways to improve memory. While age-related memory loss is normal, older adults don’t need to spend the rest of their lives forgetting. From brain games to exercise, here are the best techniques to preserve cognitive function and avoid memory decline.
12 Ways to Improve Memory or Recall Even When You’re 60!
In this Article:
- Keep Learning
- Use Plenty of Tools
- Stay Social
- Make Sleep a Priority
- Keep Physically Active
- Stay on Top of Chronic Illnesses
- Be Mindful
- Make Some Dietary Changes
- Add Some Dietary Supplements
- Practice Repeating Things
- Don’t Give into the Hype
- Know When to See a Doctor
1. Keep Learning!
One of the ways to improve memory is to keep learning. There is evidence that suggests the more you learn, the better your memory will be, no matter what your age. The reason is simple: it’s like exercising your brain.
Consider taking online courses in subjects that interest you, such as art or archaeology. You don’t have to go back to school to stimulate your brain, though. Even something as routine as reading, taking up a new hobby, or doing crossword puzzles will help keep your mind active.
2. Use Plenty of Tools!
There are two main types of memory: short-term memory (working memory) and long-term memory.
Because the working memory is shorter, you are more likely to forget it quickly.
To help you remember and increase brain power, consider using tools or apps. These include the following:
- To-do lists
- Contact lists
- Lists of all kinds
If you are not a fan of tech, then go old-school and hang a calendar on the wall or buy a date book.
A whiteboard on the wall allows you to leave yourself little reminders too, so you don’t have to work so hard trying to remember all the little things.
3. Stay Social!
Maintaining your personal relationships is one of the many possible ways to improve memory. Socializing can help ward off depression and other mental health problems that can impact your memory.
Look for opportunities to go out with friends or spend time with your family. Also, consider joining a book club or taking part in a community project or organization.
4. Make Sleep a Priority!
Sleep plays a critical role in forming memories. First, lack of sleep can reduce a person’s ability to focus or pay attention. Memory retention, therefore, suffers.
Second, researchers believe sleep helps to consolidate memories for the day. By sleeping, you are allowing yourself the time you need to retain the details of your life.
As a bonus, extended sleep may help decrease the likelihood of diabetes, which can also affect brain function.
Sleep requirements vary from person to person, but on the average, seniors need between 7 and 8 hours each night.
5. Keep Physically Active!
One of the ways to improve memory is to keep moving. Regular exercise is the body’s way of forcing you to de-stress. It increases blood flow to the brain, and it also improves brain volume.
The current guidelines for exercise are 150 minutes a week of moderate activity along with strength training. Moderate exercise could be anything from a bike ride to an aerobic exercise or a brisk walk.
6. Stay on Top of Chronic Illnesses!
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reports 7 out of 10 people in the United States will develop high blood pressure at some point in their lives. For many, this will commonly occur for individuals around the age 60 or older.
Left untreated, high blood pressure has a significant impact on the brain and memory. A study by the University of Pittsburgh revealed it may lead to lapses in short-term memory.
Other chronic conditions that can take a toll on your brain health include:
- Thyroid problems
- Kidney disease
- High cholesterol
7. Be Mindful!
Mindfulness is defined as staying in the present so you are aware of what’s going on around you. It applies to everything you do, including eating, exercising, and doing chores around the house.
The goal is to understand what’s going on and how you feel about it in real-time. A 2016 study published in PLOS One found that practicing mindfulness, in ways such as meditation, not only improved memory but also enhanced focus.
Furthermore, meditation can help reduce stress levels, which in turn can decrease inflammation and cortisol. All these can have a significant impact on the condition of your brain cells.
8. Make Some Dietary Changes!
Eating a healthy diet is not just good for reducing cognitive decline, but it is also beneficial for decreasing the risks of chronic illnesses that can affect memory. A balanced meal plan should include plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains.
A 2017 study published in Frontiers of Aging Neuroscience found that increasing fruits and vegetables reduces the risk of dementia.
Focus on low-fat protein sources too, such as skinless chicken, fish, and plant proteins such as quinoa. Additionally, a Harvard Health study pointed out that a diet with healthy fats such as olive oil and nuts can reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and dementia.
What you eliminate from your diet is just as important as what you eat. Look to remove processed foods, excess sugar, and refined carbs, like cookies.
Also, lower your intake of salt, because it can push your blood pressure up.
9. Add Some Dietary Supplements!
Another way to improve memory is supplementation. There is reason to believe that taking vitamin supplements may reduce brain shrinkage as you continue to age. A good multivitamin offers all the essentials you need for good health.
You may also consider adding a fish oil supplement to increase the omega-3 fatty acids in your diet. Omega-3 is good for both your heart and your brain and may help reduce inflammation, which is a key factor in memory loss.
Talk to your doctor before starting any dietary supplement program as some can interfere with prescription medications.
10. Practice Repeating Things!
Repeating something you want to remember by either saying it out loud or writing it down reinforces the memory. It’s a trick you can use to remember someone’s name or to memorize your new phone number.
If the information is more complex than just a few numbers or a word, consider mnemonic devices. For example, RICE is one often used in first aid. It means:
A mnemonic device will provide easier retention without adding stress to the brain.
11. Don’t Give into the Hype!
How you feel about yourself and the aging process will impact your overall health, and this includes your memory. There are many stereotypes attached to people 60 and older, and some are not very positive. It’s up to you to push those aside and see yourself in a better light.
Self-doubt can lead to depression, anxiety, and isolation, all conditions that will erode your ability to remember things.
12. Know When to See a Doctor!
If you do notice changes in your memory, especially if they start to impact the things you enjoy doing, see a doctor. The problem might not be with your brain.
Sometimes, underlying conditions like high blood pressure can cause memory loss and confusion. If it turns out there is more going on, medication can help. Modern drug therapy may slow the progression of diseases such as Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s.
One of the ways to improve memory and cognitive abilities is through mnemonics. Here are tips on how to make them from SciShow:
Until humans can find the fountain of eternal youth, everybody will grow old. The body, including the brain, will deteriorate. However, it doesn’t have to be a fast process. The way to improve memory as detailed above can help ensure you’ll have many years of quality of life ahead of you, even when you’re 60.
Do you have more ways to improve memory? Share your tips in the comments section below.
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Disclaimer: These statements have not been evaluated by the Food and Drug Administration. None of the nutritional products mentioned are intended to Diagnose, Treat, Cure, or Prevent any Disease.