Brain Health @ SRC

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Hear this discussion from our Longevity Explorers — circles of older adults who meet monthly to explore solutions to the challenges that come with aging.

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from: Longevity Explorers | Saratoga Retirement Community

Discussion Summary

Strategies to maintain brain health vary from member to member, and each has an individual approach.

 

Methods Differ 

  • Rosalie solves cryptograms, works puzzles, prays, and recommends a vegan diet. As well, she likes memorizing pieces played on a musical instrument ("Music is better for memory than puzzles,") and learning lines for theatrical performances.  
  • John resumed playing the piano later in life and found that he was able after many years to play complete pieces from memory. 
  • Marilyn and two others enjoy Taiko drumming (good for memorizing patterns and sequencing).
  • Helen reports that general physical exercise and good blood circulation are better than a focus only on the brain. Del says that his memory has diminished over the past year after stopping playing tennis regularly; now he often forgets people's names.
  • Marilyn uses meditation for focused concentration. 
  • Eric recommends writing about something you enjoy such as remembrances or memoirs. Writing one's thoughts reinforces organizing, sequencing, perspective, and memory. One thought leads to others in connected recollections.
  • Helen has been bilingual from birth and feels that it lends to much better memory and different brain development. She says that her childhood language skills 'came back' in later life.

 

Gadgets and Brain Games

Commercial 'brain game' exercises (i.e. Posit Science, Dakim) are intended to improve memory, patterning, and sequencing, but tend to be expensive. Members feel that users may get good at the games and improve their reaction times, but feel that memory improvement is transitory. AARP is now offering 'Brain Health 101' online stressing patterns and recall improvement tricks.

 

Other Tips and Tricks

When struggling to solve a problem or situation that defies completion, sleep on it. Brain activity during sleep can bring insights, so keep a pencil and paper at the bedside to note the overnight solutions.

Write down what you want to remember in a notebook, including a phone log and appointments. 

Talk to others about a topic or project idea. By discussing the matter, the solution often appears in the process of interaction. 

 

What to Avoid

The group agrees that emotional stress is detrimental and can impair memory temporarily, but it does recover after stressors are removed.

 

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Key words: 
Brain fitness, Brain Training, brain exercises, brain, short term memory loss