Memory Loss: How to Crush it at 60 (& stop losing your marbles)
Updated: Mar 28
We've all been there.
You get up, walk into the kitchen, and suddenly, you have no clue why you are there.
You park the car at the supermarket but, when you come out, you have no idea where you left it.
Talking about the supermarket, you forgot the list. There were only 3 or 4 things on it, but you can't recall them.
But of course, you are over 60 now and should expect this downward spiral of memory loss.
No, you shouldn't!
There are plenty of simple ways to improve memory at 60 and beyond.
Read on to get research-backed tips on getting your brain back in order.
Eat to Defeat Memory Loss
Our brains work for us day and night, keeping our bodies running, gathering information from all our senses, learning, thinking, and enabling our actions.
Most of the time, we pay little attention until it doesn't work so well.
Even then, we may pass it off as age or stress.
But there are several changes we could make to our diets to repair and strengthen our brains and help with our memories.
Eat Fish -- oily fish especially is a good source of nutrients that help keep the brain healthy. Studies have found a direct link between a lower risk of age-related abnormalities and eating more fish. If you can't eat fish, an Omega-3 supplement is an alternative.
Berries and Bright-Coloured Veg -- these are high in antioxidants which help reduce unwanted free radicals in the body. Unfortunately, the brain is particularly susceptible to damage from free radicals, so it is worth eating plenty of antioxidants to clean them up.
Coffee and Dark Chocolate -- surprisingly, both of these treats are good guys. In moderation, of course, and not too late in the day.
Curcumin -- adding curcumin (turmeric) to your diet has been shown to positively affect the brain, improving memory. Personally, I love curry and add turmeric while cooking, but if you don't like the taste, you can take it as a supplement.
Reduce Sugar and Processed food intake -- these have a negative effect on cognition resulting in poor memory, as well as causing a number of other health problems. I'll talk about my own experience of taking sugar out of my diet almost entirely in another post, but the changes to my memory, fatigue, and alertness were remarkable.
Use it, don't lose it, and improve memory
Using your brain will help build connections and pathways and improve memory. As with the muscle in your body, you'll lose it if you don't use it.
Learn something new -- take a course, join a group, study books, or watch Youtube. Whichever way you prefer to learn, choose a hobby or interest to follow.
Games -- Any game that requires logical thought is good exercise for your brain. Cluedo, Scrabble, and Chess are standard choices, plus there is a wide variety of newer board games, such as Catan, that are worth investigating.
Puzzles -- Jigsaw puzzles are fantastic for improving your short-term memory. Crosswords and Sudoku are good examples of puzzles to get you thinking.
Brain Training Apps -- hundreds of apps provide puzzles to exercise your grey matter, including many free ones. Find something you enjoy doing, and you'll do it more often.
Essential exercise boosts your brain
To do its job properly, your brain needs a good supply of blood and oxygen (as well as all those essential vitamins and minerals). So daily exercise is vital to keep your body working effectively and provide your brain's needs.
All forms of cardiovascular exercise are beneficial, especially when you are outside catching some sunshine and much-needed vitamin D. A brisk walk for 20 minutes daily alongside some yoga will do wonders. Make that a walk in nature, and the benefits are even greater. Studies have shown that age-related cognition impairment is up to 80% worse in people who don't exercise.
It is a long-held myth that our brains stop producing new neurons in adulthood. In fact, a healthy lifestyle that includes exercise has been shown to improve the development of new brain cells. New brain cells = better memory.
Stay sociable and mend your memory
Staying sociable has been shown to improve our memory in recent studies. In addition, we age better with less cognitive decline if we engage in relationships with others. So joining a group or class for people who enjoy an activity you'd like to learn will be a double bonus to improve memory.
Make the most of your memory
When we reach our sixties, it's easy to put a change in our abilities down to aging and believe there is nothing we can do about it.
But we can.
Fend off old age by trying some of the ideas above that are proven to reduce cognitive decline and memory loss.