Mom is going on 82, and her mind is still pretty sharp. But she has been showing signs of a slipping memory. What’s the latest thinking out there when it comes to seniors and memory loss? How can I help her? -Jessica
At 82, memory loss is a common thing, part of the normal aging process. Studies are going on all the time to discover ways for fending off this natural functional erosion of the mind, as well as the more serious kinds of memory problems, such as those related with Alzheimer’s disease and other cognitive issues. Here’s a brief look at what I’ve been reading lately.
Investigators in Canada have determined that high-sodium intake and a low level of exercise can be detrimental to cognitive function in the elderly. Plus, even those seniors studied who didn’t exercise much at all, but still limited their salt intake, also exhibited no cognitive decline. So, it seems a diet high in salt can be a real culprit. Does your mom enjoy an occasional glass of wine? In a summary analysis recently done of over 140 studies dating back to 1977, moderate alcohol consumption has been linked to lower risks of developing Alzheimer’s and other forms of cognitive impairments. These findings span the habits of over 365,000 people, and it pointed to wine as proving more beneficial than beer or spirits. And finally, there’s a 10-year study in France concluding that adults who take vitamin and mineral supplements exhibited better long-term memory skills than those who didn’t. These included Vitamins C and E, Selenium, Zinc and Beta-Carotene; these elements particularly impacted verbal memory. So, here’s the scoop: no salt, regular exercise, a little wine and a few vitamins and minerals each day. Anyone can handle that.
Truth is, if your mom is still quite sharp at 82, chances are good she is only displaying the natural memory loss all of us must face in due time. But have her begin implementing the suggestions I’ve offered above, and see if you see a marked difference over time. And guess what, Jessica: These same good habits might help you, as well, stave off memory loss tomorrow. Good luck and keep me posted.
Source: McKnight’s Online Issues ; 8/5/11, 8/18/11 & 8/23/11