Train your brain!
Memory Foundation founders Gillian Eadie and Dr Allison Lamont are on a mission to help Kiwis fight against memory loss and the onset of dementia. The good news is that we can all start working on the prevention today.
While it used to be thought that memory loss and dementia were inevitable as we age, that is now known not to be the case.
“For most healthy adults, brain connections continue to grow until the end of life – as long as they have something to do,” says Gillian. “Newer research is emerging to show that lifestyle factors play a significant role in prevention.”
Dr Jian Guan of the Centre for Brain Research at the University of Auckland has identified four key factors that cause brain ageing:
- Hormonal changes.
- A sedentary lifestyle.
- Not engaging in mental or physical challenges.
- Diet-related disorders, such as obesity or Type 2 diabetes.
Gillian says that while we can’t (yet) control hormonal changes, we can control the three other factors. She suggests the following ten steps could help improve memory and reduce cognitive decline:
- Exercise daily to increase the flow of blood and nutrients to the brain.
- Eat a wide variety of fruits and vegetables (the more colourful the better).
- Eat fish at least twice per week for omega 3 fats.
- Incorporate mentally challenging activities – such as jigsaws and Sudoku puzzles – into each day.
- Actively pay attention to information you want to recall later.
- Practice good stress management techniques – such as breathing, meditation and spiritual activities.
- Get help if you suffer from depression.
- Seek volunteer opportunities so that you can give back to others.
- Remain socially engaged with friends at least three times per week.
- Learn and note one new thing every day.
Let the games begin!
To help prevent memory loss, Gillian’s sister and Memory Foundation co-founder Dr Allison Lamont has developed a range of neuro-games, designed to strengthen key skills required to aid healthy ageing.
To check out some of the Memory Foundation’s free online neuro games, visit http://memory.foundation/memory-games/
Sisters Gillian Eadie (left) and Dr Allison Lamont with their mother Jeanie (centre), whose suffering with Alzheimer’s inspired them to create the Memory Foundation, based in Auckland.