Studies Shed Light on Age-Related Memory Loss

Senior Care in Glen Ellyn IL: Age-Related Memory Loss


A study published in Psychological Science showed that learning new skills appeared to noticeably improve memory function in an aging brain.
Similar to the way muscles get stronger with physical exercise that pushes them beyond where they currently are, the brain muscle appears to get stronger with a prolonged mental challenge. For maximum benefit, researchers say, new activity should be unfamiliar, mentally, and socially stimulating, and outside of the senior’s comfort zone.

In this study, groups of older adults, between the ages of 60-90 years, were randomly assigned to participate in different types of activities. For a three month period, they spent 15 hours per week engaged in their assigned activity. One group was assigned to learn a new skill, such as photography or quilting. These skills were cognitively demanding, requiring that participants were actively engaged, used both their short and long-term memories and other high-level cognitive processing. A second group was assigned to participate in more familiar, less challenging activities, such as listening to classical music, completing word puzzles, and participating in social groups and field trips. When the study concluded, researchers found that the seniors who had actively learned new skills showed noticeable improvements in their memory testing.

Researchers plan to continue following up with participants to monitor the longer-term effects of the changes. They believe that these findings may hold exciting potential as the number of seniors continues to rise as the world’s population ages.

“This is speculation, but what if challenging mental activity slows the rate at which the brain ages?” asks lead researcher Denise Park. “Every year that you save could be an added year of high-quality life and independence.”


Overcoming Obstacles and Prioritizing What’s Important

Many seniors find that getting involved presents challenges beyond finding the courage to step out of their comfort zone. There are often other obstacles that stand in their way. Physical health, vision, dexterity, or mobility challenges can create complications, as can issues with transportation if the senior no longer drives. Senior care services can help older adults overcome challenges such as these, which can enable them to participate in stimulating classes and learn new skills. Senior care aides can also take care of household chores, such as laundry, dishes, or sweeping, which can allow an older adult to redirect limited energy into different channels.


Good Moods and Good Memories

Good news for seniors who find it very hard to learn new skills: just maintaining a positive attitude may slow memory decline. A separate study published in Psychological Science looked at 991 adults, middle-aged or older, over a nine-year period. Researchers found that, while memory tended to generally decline with age, seniors who had a more positive outlook experienced less memory loss than those who didn’t. They concluded that enthusiasm, cheerful demeanor, and positive outlook corresponded with a lesser degree of memory decline over time.

So, it seems that seniors may be able to keep their memories sharp by continuing to learn new skills and keeping a positive attitude. Senior care services can help them in these endeavors in a number of ways. Senior care can support older adults to overcome challenges that may stand in their way. Senior care aides can also take care of fatiguing-inducing chores for seniors with limited energy stores, enabling them to prioritize their energy wisely, and use it for activities that will best enhance their health and happiness.


If you or an aging loved-one is considering Senior Care in Glen Ellyn, IL, please contact the caring staff at A Mishle Group Services, Inc. today. (630) 888-6644 




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