Stay Sharp: Tips for Healthy Mental Aging with Dr. Constantine G. Lyketsos

As people age, memory loss can suddenly become a concerning issue. While some people expect that distant memories will natually become foggy, it doesn't have to be a foregone conclusion. In fact, there are a number of ways to help keep your memory sharp as you get older.  Dr. Constantine G. Lyketsos, MD, Director of the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center, provides some tips for healthy mental aging.

For more on memory preservation and the difference between normal memory changes and signs of dementias, register for the 2014  A Woman's Journey conference where Dr. Lyketsos will host one of 32 featured seminars, "A Trip Down Memory Lane." A Woman's Journey conference takes place Saturday, Nov. 1. For more information visit, hopkinsmedicine.org/awomansjourney/baltimore.

  • Track your activity, sleep, steps and weight
  • Avoid unnecessary medication use. Don’t take pills you absolutely don’t need.
  • Be wary of what is being sold in alternative health care. Make sure that you are getting what you pay for and understand any potential risks.
  • Don’t fully retire unless you must. If you do retire, keep as active as possible
  • Stay healthy: manage your weight, blood pressure, blood sugar and other health conditions. Stay engaged with a good primary care doctor.
  • Sleep well – at least seven hours a night. Make sure that you are getting enough rest!
  • Limit the effects of stress on your body (try meditation!)
  • Keep physically active. Emphasize variety, combine different forms of physical activity over time. Formal exercise is only one form of physical activity. Change your regimen once a year.
  • Keep mentally active. Learn new things: a language or musical instrument, for example. Take a course in a field that is outside of your past experience and comfort zone.
  • Keep socially active. Stay engaged with family, social organizations, religious activities, etc.
  • Follow a Mediterranean diet. Eat lots of fruits vegetables, fish and olive oil.
  • Consume antioxidants. Examples of these include blueberries, red wine or dark chocolate.

For more information on memory loss and related conditions, visit the Memory and Alzheimer's Treatment Center

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Kenny Brown September 24, 2014 at 8:20 am

P.S. Cribbage involves playing cards, of course; card playing is a great activity for all ages. It's mentally stimulating and an excellent form of socializing.

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Kenny Brown September 24, 2014 at 8:17 am

I'll suggest activities commonly practiced for mental stimulation; crossword puzzles/sudoku/board games, i.e. Cribbage, Backgammon, etc./jigsaw puzzles/daily news. There are many educational/media programs on T.V., it seems there's something for everybody. However, T.V. should not be a tool used as a primary activity.

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