Train Your Brain
How do you do exercise your brain?
by Successful Aging in Action! | 7.19.19
Maximize Memory Ability by Staying Mentally Active
By Dr. Rob Winningham
I have good news: There are many lifestyle choices we can make that could dramatically improve our memory ability and decrease our chances of developing dementia. Numerous studies have reported that older adults who engage in a greater number of cognitively stimulating activities are less likely to develop memory problems. For example, a study published in the New England Journal of Medicine by Dr. Verghese and his colleagues found that older adults who reported doing the greatest number of cognitively stimulating leisure activities were 63% less likely to develop dementia as compared to their more sedentary counterparts. Another study published by Dr. Wilson and colleagues found that people who participated in the greatest number of activities were 47% less likely to develop dementia in the next 4.5 years.
We can create opportunities for ourselves, loved ones, and others that take advantage of the use it or lose it principle, which can lead to measurable gains in memory abilities. For example, I directed a controlled study in seven different assisted living communities in order to assess the effectiveness of a group-based cognitive enhancement program. The results were astounding. The group that participated in the cognitive enhancement program improved their ability to make new memories and increased their confidence that they were able to make new memories. The control group’s memory ability stayed the same. One of the most encouraging aspects of the study was that the average age of the participants was 82 years and they were able to improve their memory. The results of this study were published in the Journal of Mental Health and Aging.
Published in the January/February 2014 Mosaic
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