A Holistic Lifestyle Approach. Many researchers interested in helping older adults maintain their cognitive abilities and quality of life have looked for and found risk factors associated with memory decline and dementia. Many of these risk factors are under our control. Here is a partial list of risk factors associated with an increased chance of developing memory problems or dementia:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Poor diet
- High blood pressure
- Chronic alcoholism
- Anemia or low iron levels
- Atherosclerosis (hardening of arteries)
- Pre-diabetes or insulin resistance
- Visual and auditory impairments
- Poor social support networks
Maximizing memory ability and decreasing the chance of developing dementia requires eliminating or reducing the above risk factors whenever possible. The sum effect of making the type of lifestyle changes discussed in this article is far greater than the effect of any drug that has been or probably will ever be developed for memory. It takes hard work, dedication, and motivation to truly maximize memory ability in older adulthood, but ever-increasing numbers of people are doing it.
If you are interested in learning more about improving memory and decreasing the chance of developing dementia, then read Dr. Winningham’s book Train Your Brain: How to Maximize Memory Ability in Older Adulthood, which was published by Baywood Publishing earlier this year. For questions, email Dr. Winningham.