Why did I come into this room? She looks so familiar, but I can’t remember her name. Did I leave the water running or the stove on? These are just some of the questions that pop into our minds as we age and struggle to stay focused and sharp.
Famous author, Mark Twain, offered one of the most humorous, tongue-in-cheek quotes about the topic: “Out of all of the things I have lost, I miss my mind the most.”
When it comes to delaying the onset or risk of Alzheimer’s, Kenneth C. Zaentz, President and CEO at the Alzheimer’s Association’s Greater New Jersey Chapter, cautions that there is no solid scientific evidence to prove that the following measures will work. However, they are good lifestyle choices that all people, including senior citizens, should pursue.
“We definitely believe that people should lead a healthy lifestyle,” he advised. “Being socially engaged is so important, having your numbers in right ranges (blood pressure and cholesterol), continuing to exercise, and participating in stimulating activities – all of those things are extremely important as you age.”
The Wilf Campus for Senior Living in Somerset, NJ offers seven ways for seniors to stay mentally sharp and engaged:
- Learn something new – Have you ever admired folks who know how to crochet, swing a golf club, cook an exotic dish, paint a dazzling landscape, or hammer away at a workbench to construct a treasure from wood? It’s never too late to take a class at a school or online to learn a new skill that will enrich your life.
- Try something puzzling — Crossword puzzles and other word games like Suduko or Words with Friends (the online word-building challenge) are ways to challenge yourself and keep your vocabulary skills extra-sharp.
- Visit someplace new — Are you always admiring your friends’ photos from their travels nearby and abroad? Take the road less traveled, peruse a few brochures from places you’ve always wanted to go and plan your next adventure. Seeing a new exhibit at a museum, a garden blossoming with flowers you’ve never seen, or witnessing the sun setting in a town you have never visited are ways to stay stimulated and engaged in the world around you.
- Eat Brain Foods – Stock up your refrigerator and pantry with these foods, which, according to Dr. Cynthia Green, founder and director of the Memory Enhancement Program at Mount Sinai School of Medicine in New York City and author of Brainpower Game Plan, are known to aid brain health:
- fatty fish (such as salmon, albacore tuna, mackerel, and sardines
- leafy greens and cruciferous vegetables (broccoli, cauliflower, cabbage, kale, bok choy, Brussels sprouts)
- avocados, nuts, seeds, oils
- whole grains
- water, alcohol (in moderation), coffee
- Exercise regularly – Aside from the obvious physical benefits, exercise challenges us to stay mentally coordinated and underlines the importance of taking good care of our bodies. Our moods are lifted and, when we exercise with others, we have an opportunity to socialize and set goals for healthier lifestyles.
- Sleep well – According to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke, sleep may give the brain a chance to exercise important neuronal connections that might otherwise deteriorate from lack of activity. Be sure your bedroom is a relaxing environment that will not have anything to distract you (like a television or bright lights on) to distract you from catching your Z’s!
- Socialize often – Whether it is reaching out to a friend on Facebook, dropping by a friend’s house with a cake you baked, or inviting a group of friends over for a card game or movie night, it is important to share your life with others. It provides the opportunity to swap recipes, express life experiences, and stay connected to the outside world.
The Oscar and Ella Wilf Campus for Senior Living is comprised of Stein Assisted Living Residence, the Jaffa Gate Memory Care Neighborhood, Stein Hospice, Wilentz Senior Residence, Wilf Transport, Wilf At Home, and The Foundation at the Wilf Campus. For more information, contact us at (732) 568-1155, email@example.com or visit us at www.wilfcampus.org.