Brain health includes the ability to learn, remember, plan and focus in order to help us get through activities needed on a daily basis and to be prepared for future needs. What we do throughout our lives contributes to our brain health. It is never too early to take steps to keep your brain and body healthy.
Change in brain function is expected as we age. As we experience things, practice old habits and learn new ones, our brains change. Our experiences and learning new things keep our brains working, developing, learning and sharp.
Most people forget things; misplace a document, car keys, etc. throughout our lives. It is not until we are older that these things begin to cause concern. Our brains reach maturity in our 20s. Even though there may be no outward signs, brain cells begin to shrink very gradually once we are in our 30s and on. For many individuals, brain functioning remains strong into our 70s and beyond and there are things we can all do to help assure we stay sharp.
We frequently see evidence that things we do to keep our body and heart healthy also contribute to brain health. Here are some things we can do that will contribute to our overall well being:
Get and keep moving. Spend 30 minutes a day doing some kind of physical activity walking, playing with grandkids or gardening, taking the stairs instead of an elevator or not putting off that trip between floors at home.
Healthy eating. As frequently recommended, a diet low in solid fats and high in fruits and veggies is important for overall health. Try including extra vegetables in soups or stews. Maybe a non-fat yogurt dip would make raw vegetables more interesting. Take the time to keep some ready to eat fruits and vegetables on hand for snacks.
Know your blood pressure. If it is high, get it under control.
Drink alcohol in moderation, if at all. Alcohol may act differently in older adults and may interact with medications. It could lead to unsteadiness and increase the risk of falls or other accidents.
Get adequate sleep. Try for seven to eight hours a night.
Learn something new. Take up a new hobby, learn to dance or speak a foreign language. Check out some of the brain games on the internet. Some sites charge a fee, including AARP Staying Sharp, website dedicated to better brain health. If you belong to AARP, you may already have access and it looks like some of the games can be accessed at no cost.
Stay connected with family and friends. Keep informed regarding current events. Pay attention to causes that are important to you and connect with elected officials to make your position known.
Talk to your doctor. If you are concerned that you are experiencing changes in brain function that may not be normal, it is important to talk to your doctor. If you are not sleeping well, discuss it. If medications seem to affect you adversely it is important to share. Medical professionals have limited time to spend with all of us. It is important to be organized, accurate and concise when discussing concerns. The National Institute for Health, National Institute on Aging has a publication titled Talking with Your Doctor: A Guide for Older People. A Google search for the title will take you to the publication. You can either read it on line or download it for future reference.
Keeping healthy in mind, body and spirit is important for all of us and worth the effort. Make the time to do so. Additional information is available at acl.gov (Administration for Community Living, formerly the Administration on Aging) and through AARP among other websites.
Otsego County residents who would like information or assistance on topics regarding aging and/or long term supports and services are welcome to call Otsego County Office for the Aging/NY Connects of Otsego County at 547-4232 or (855) 547-4390.
Frances Wright is director of the Otsego County Office for the Aging. Senior Scene columns can be found at http://www.thedailystar.com/news/lifestyles/.
- CogniFit's Free Brain Games-Play Today. - March 6th, 2019
- Fun Brain Games | Brain Games for Adults | Games.lol - March 2nd, 2019
- Brain Games - Fun Games That Train Your Mind - November 11th, 2018
- Amazon.com: Brain Games - The Game - Based on the Emmy ... - October 17th, 2018
- Brain Games: Test Your Memory and Attention Span - September 14th, 2018
- Brain Games (National Geographic) - Wikipedia - July 14th, 2018
- Brain Games | Free Brain Games to Play Online - July 11th, 2018
- CNN | All Free Brain Games - September 6th, 2017
- The Next Step in Treating Gait and Walking Functions in Older Adults - Markets Insider - August 31st, 2017
- Competition heats up with 'Senior Brain Games' - WBBJ-TV - August 26th, 2017
- Flinn Foundation bioscience winners range from bug zappers to brain games - East Valley Tribune - August 25th, 2017
- Five of the Best Brain Game apps - Blast - August 23rd, 2017
- This Is The Only Type Of Brain Training That Works, According To Science - Fast Company - August 21st, 2017
- FSU institute contributes to Global Council on Brain Health recommendations - Florida State News - August 19th, 2017
- Online Applications Could Make Traditional Resumes, Cover Letters A Thing Of The Past - CBS New York - August 16th, 2017
- Are Prescription Video Games The Next Frontier In Medicine? - BOSS Magazine - August 11th, 2017
- Yoga May Boost Aging Brains - Carlisle Sentinel - August 10th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: time to compete! - The Tomahawk - August 5th, 2017
- 2017 Tennessee Senior Brain Games call for teams: Time to compete! - Winchester Herald Chronicle - August 4th, 2017
- How to keep your brain sharp in older age - Medical Xpress - August 4th, 2017
- 49ers' love of game versus reality of research - SFGate - August 4th, 2017
- 40 things you might not know about Tom Brady - Boston.com - August 3rd, 2017
- Report challenges claims of cognitive benefits of online brain ... - CBS News - July 31st, 2017
- 49ers' Joe Staley, Brian Hoyer, Kyle Juszczyk reflect on latest CTE study - ESPN (blog) - July 31st, 2017
- Brain Trauma Scientists Turn Their Attention to Soccer - WIRED - July 31st, 2017
- Brain-training games don't really train brains, a new study suggests - The Sydney Morning Herald - July 13th, 2017
- Column: Fitness isn't all in your head, it just starts there - Stillwater Gazette - July 12th, 2017
- New study takes a look at impact of brain games on patients with dementia - WTNH Connecticut News (press release) - July 11th, 2017
- Brain Games Don't Work - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Data SheetTuesday, July 11, 2017 - Fortune - July 11th, 2017
- Brain games popular at the Leeton library - The Irrigator - June 29th, 2017
- 3 steps that may boost brain health in old age - LaSalle News Tribune - June 26th, 2017
- Study Finds Good Reason to Keep Having Sex Over 50 - Newser - June 25th, 2017
- Library link - So Md News (subscription) - June 23rd, 2017
- Senior Center News: June 22 - The Wilton Bulletin - June 23rd, 2017
- Sex might boost brain health in old age: Study - Toronto Sun - June 23rd, 2017
- How to Keep your Brain Sharp - HuffPost - June 21st, 2017
- Mobile gaming sessions down 10 percent year-over-year, but ... - TechCrunch - June 21st, 2017
- Doing puzzles and playing brain games won't make you smarter - Star2.com - June 20th, 2017
- Brain Power - BQ Live - June 19th, 2017
- You Asked: How Can I Use More of My Brain? - TIME - June 16th, 2017
- Summer fun good for the brain - Chicago Parent - June 7th, 2017
- Chicago Fights Summer 'Brain Drain' With Superhero Science - Chicago Tonight | WTTW - June 7th, 2017
- Local kids enjoy Pelicans junior camp - Opelousas Daily World - June 1st, 2017
- The Dreaded Summer Slide and How to Tackle It - Education World - June 1st, 2017
- Mukwonago Community Library news: June 4, 2017 - Lake Country Now - May 31st, 2017
- No, playing brain games won't make you smarter they're just a bit ... - South China Morning Post - May 28th, 2017
- Brain Games - Wikipedia - May 27th, 2017
- From bug zappers to brain games: Meet some Flinn Foundation bioscience winners - Cronkite News - May 25th, 2017
- Ready for the Brain Games championship round - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 25th, 2017
- BRAIN GAMES: 5 local teams headed to Odyssey of the Mind World Finals - Press & Sun-Bulletin - May 23rd, 2017
- Talk in Albany examines dementia, importance of brain exercises - East Bay Times - May 23rd, 2017
- Games reward brains, vigor - The Advocate - May 18th, 2017
- This video game could literally train our brains to resist symptoms of disease - Mic - May 18th, 2017
- Brain Games XVI under way - Times-Mail (subscription) - May 17th, 2017
- Brain Games And Breakthroughs In Call Center Automation - Forbes - May 17th, 2017
- No evidence that playing 'brain games' make you smarter - Digital Journal - May 6th, 2017
- The Rockwood Files - A weekend of brain games - Cedar County Republican (subscription) - May 6th, 2017
- The Disappointing Reason Those Brain-Training Apps Might Not Work - SheKnows.com - April 27th, 2017
- Cognitive Benefits of Exercise Outshine Brain-Training Games - Psychology Today (blog) - April 26th, 2017
- Brain Training Games Are a Waste of Time - Men's Journal - April 25th, 2017
- Brain Games: The Science of Coaching - Sports On Earth - April 24th, 2017
- Do brain games make you smarter, or just better at brain games? - Uncommon Wisdom Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - The Siasat Daily - April 22nd, 2017
- No Gain in Brain Games - Anti Aging News - April 21st, 2017
- Brain Games May Not Boost Your Productivity After all - Indiatimes ... - Indiatimes.com - April 21st, 2017
- Just when you thought brain games made you smarter - Business Standard - April 21st, 2017
- Brain games may not make you smarter: Study - Mathrubhumi English - April 20th, 2017
- Matt Del Vecchio: Keeping fit physically and mentally - The Suburban Newspaper - April 19th, 2017
- What my 'Entrepreneur' self would tell my 'Corporate' self - Huffington Post - April 18th, 2017
- Actually, brain games don't make you smarter: study - New York Daily News - April 18th, 2017
- You're middle-aged this is the perfect time to work on staying healthy - Washington Post - April 15th, 2017
- Brain Games - Play Yourself Smarter - Agame.com - April 13th, 2017
- 'Same-old same-old' ages the brain. Don't let it - Rochester Democrat and Chronicle - April 9th, 2017
- Is Successful Brain Training Fake News?: Neurologists Parse Out the Messaging for Patients - LWW Journals - April 6th, 2017
- CNN 10 - April 5, 2017 - CNN - April 5th, 2017
- Brain Games: Event raises funds for LVEP - Martinsburg Journal - April 3rd, 2017
- Upcoming events at the Jenks Center - Wicked Local Winchester - March 30th, 2017
- Video Games Can Help Ease Pain for People with MS - Healthline - March 26th, 2017
- Facebook Live with Nat Geo's Brain Games host Jason Silva at 4PM ET - Blastr - March 24th, 2017