Preserving Memory As We Age

medical modelTry to think of a strong memory of your childhood; chances are your earliest memories are from when you were very young. In fact, research has indicated that most people’s earliest memories, on average, date back to when they were 3½ years old. As you age and those memories collect, it’s an even further library index to retrieve them.

Everyone wants to preserve their memory as they age, and the good news is, studies indicate it can be done. Here are some tips from Healthline that could help preserve your memory as you age.

Eat Less Added Sugar

Eating too much added sugar has been linked to many health issues and chronic diseases, including cognitive decline. Research has shown that a sugar-laden diet can lead to poor memory and reduced brain volume, particularly in the area of the brain that stores short-term memory.

Try a Fish Oil Supplement

Fish oil is rich in the omega-3 fatty acids eicosapentaenoic acid (EPA) and docosahexaenoic acid (DHA). These fats are important for overall health and have been shown to lower the risk of heart disease, reduce inflammation, relieve stress and anxiety, and slow mental decline.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

Maintaining a healthy body weight is essential for well-being and is one of the best ways to keep your body and mind in top condition. Several studies have established obesity as a risk factor for cognitive decline. Interestingly, being obese can actually cause changes to memory-associated genes in the brain, negatively affecting memory.

Get Enough Sleep

Lack of proper sleep has been associated with poor memory for quite some time. Sleep plays an important role in memory consolidation, a process in which short-term memories are strengthened and transformed into long-lasting memories. Research shows that if you are sleep deprived, you could be negatively impacting your memory.

These are just some of the many ways to improve and preserve your memory as you age.

Maple Manor Christian Home is a skilled nursing facility, certified by the Indiana State Department of Health. Our mission is to provide outstanding care for all of our residents by being compassionate, affectionate, respectful, and enthusiastic. We welcome family and friends and encourage them to visit frequently. Call us at (812) 246-4866 with any questions and to schedule a tour.

Sources:
https://www.psychologytoday.com/us/blog/longing-nostalgia/201504/what-your-oldest-memories-reveal-about-you
https://www.healthline.com/nutrition/ways-to-improve-memory/

How to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

walk for healthIf you’ve ever watched a loved one suffer from dementia, you know how difficult and stressful it can be. Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving, and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life. Alzheimer’s is the most common cause of dementia.

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, Alzheimer’s disease accounts for 60-80% of cases. Vascular dementia, which occurs because of microscopic bleeding and blood vessel blockage in the brain, is the second most common cause of dementia. Those who experience the brain changes of multiple types of dementia simultaneously have mixed dementia. There are many other conditions that can cause symptoms of dementia, including some that are reversible, such as thyroid problems and vitamin deficiencies.

Dementia risk and prevention

Some risk factors for dementia, such as age and genetics, cannot be changed. But researchers continue to explore the impact of other risk factors on brain health and prevention of dementia that may decrease the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Research reported at the 2019 Alzheimer’s Association International Conference suggests that adopting multiple healthy lifestyle choices, including:

  • ★ A healthy diet
  • ★ Not smoking
  • ★ Regular exercise
  • ★ Cognitive stimulation

Diet

Current evidence suggests that heart-healthy eating may also help protect the brain. Heart-healthy eating includes limiting the intake of sugar and saturated fats and making sure to eat plenty of fruits, vegetables, and whole grains. No one diet is best. Two diets that have been studied and may be beneficial to lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s are the DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diet and the Mediterranean diet.

  • ★ The DASH diet emphasizes vegetables, fruits, fat-free or low-fat dairy products, whole grains, fish, poultry, beans, seeds, nuts and vegetable oils. The DASH diet limits sodium, sweets, sugary beverages and red meats.
  • ★ A Mediterranean diet includes relatively little red meat. It emphasizes whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and shellfish, and healthy fats like nuts and olive oil.

Social connections and intellectual activity

A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s. Experts are not certain about the reason for this association. It may be due to direct mechanisms through which social and mental stimulation strengthen connections between nerve cells in the brain.

Head trauma

There appears to be a strong link between the future risk of cognitive decline and serious head trauma, especially when the injury involves loss of consciousness. You can help reduce your risk of Alzheimer’s and protect your head by:

  • ★ Wearing a seat belt
  • ★ Using a helmet when participating in sports.
  • ★ “Fall-proofing” your home by minimizing clutter, loose rugs and poor lighting.

Patient-centered care is a great model to involve your loved one in their own care as much as possible. Maple Manor Christian Home is a skilled nursing facility, certified by the Indiana State Department of Health. Our mission is to provide outstanding care for all of our residents by being compassionate, affectionate, respectful, and enthusiastic. We welcome family and friends and encourage them to visit frequently. Call us at (812) 246-4866 with any questions and to schedule a tour.

Sources: https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/what-is-dementia
https://www.alz.org/alzheimers-dementia/research_progress/prevention

Conversations You Need to Have

talking with momWe know that having conversations about end-of-life care can be challenging. At the same time, it is better to have these discussions with the people we love at the kitchen table — when we are calm, rational, and in control -- rather than in the ICU when it may be too late. Conversations allow family members to understand what matters most to your loved ones. Advanced care planning ensures that the wishes of our loved ones are expressed in writing and respected, which makes it easier for all involved when the time comes.

A few facts

According to The Conversation Project National Survey (2018), while 92% of people believe that talking about end-of-life planning is important, only 32% have actually done so. This means that nearly 70% of us are leaving our end-of-life decisions in someone else’s hands… a medical professional in the event of an emergency, or family members that may disagree.

The good news is that taking the initiative to begin these conversations can be easier and better than you imagined. A full 95% of the survey respondents said they would be willing to talk about their end-of-life wishes, and over 50% said they’d be relieved if a loved one initiated the conversation. It is especially important for families dealing with dementia to make these decisions early if possible.

Which legal documents do we need?

To make your healthcare decisions officially known, or those of your loved one, you will need two basic documents. The first is durable power of attorney for healthcare. This involves appointing someone to be your healthcare decision-maker (healthcare power of attorney). There is no requirement that this is the oldest child, or even a family member. It should be someone you trust to carry out your wishes. By completing this form, you are granting this person the authority to make healthcare decisions on your behalf should you become unable to do so.

The second document you need is a living will, which is also known as an advanced directive. In this document you state your wishes regarding end-of-life medical care. These forms differ by state and should be available either in hard copy or online through your state’s health department, your healthcare provider, or a lawyer.

Maple Manor Christian Home (MMCH)

Compassionate, Affectionate, Respectful and Enthusiastic. MMCH is a retirement home and nursing home in Sellersburg, IN whose mission is to provide outstanding care and a home-like environment for our residents. We provide meal preparation, laundry and housekeeping services, activities, medication administration, skilled therapy and assistance with daily living. We hold church services on Sunday and Wednesday nights. Call us at (812) 246-4866 with any questions or to arrange a tour. Visit our website for more information.

Sources: https://www.forbes.com/sites/ashleaebeling/2018/02/28/the-healthcare-conversation-you-need-to-have-now/#2eaddb603a35 | https://www.nhdd.org/public-resources#where-can-i-get-an-advance-directive | Image by silviarita on Pixabay