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Embracing Memory Loss: Strategies for Positive Aging

Embracing Memory Loss: Strategies for Positive Aging

Getting older is an inevitable part of life for all of us, which is why it’s so important to approach it with a healthy mindset. The author Betty Friedan once said, “Aging is not ‘lost youth’ but a new stage of opportunity and strength.” 

The opportunity to meet new challenges, discover inner strength, and develop resilience can come in many forms. Since memory loss is a natural part of aging, embracing that challenge with positive strategies to reframe your attitude can help you maintain a high quality of life and promote a sense of well-being important to overall health, including cognitive health.

Memory care communities like the Mission at Agua Fria can be excellent resources for modeling strategies for positive aging and a holistic approach to senior wellness. Read on below for some ideas on how to keep that positive mindset and age gracefully: 

Mindfulness Practices

One of the best ways to embrace life is to focus on staying present in it. Mindfulness techniques like meditation, yoga, deep breathing, journaling, and prayer can help you cultivate awareness of and appreciation for your current surroundings, thoughts, and emotions. Most people find that mindfulness exercises help reduce stress and anxiety. 

When you practice mindfulness, you accept what is happening in the moment. Practitioners are encouraged to release worries about the future. You cannot control certain things, including memory loss, but you can control your response. Appreciate the present, cultivate gratitude, and focus on the things you love. Learning to stay more present will empower you to face future challenges.

Stay Mentally Active

One of the keys to good cognitive health is cognitive stimulation. Rather than looking at memory loss in old age as inevitable and just waiting for it to happen, you can take steps to stimulate your mind, preserve your cognitive function, and enhance your cognitive health. Some easy ways to keep your mind sharp include:

  • Enjoying puzzles, word games like crosswords or Scrabble, sudoku, memory games, and other games that challenge you mentally
  • Picking up a new hobby or investing more time in one you’re already familiar with
  • Pursuing lifelong learning by reading, taking online courses, attending speeches and lectures, or even using phone apps to learn a new language

Each of these pursuits encourages neuroplasticity in your brain, which, in turn, helps reduce the risk of cognitive decline. As you bolster your mental resilience and agility, you will better adapt to cognitive changes later. 

Focus on the Positive

A recent Yale Public School of Health study suggested that “those who think positively about aging are more likely to preserve and recover their memory and other cognitive skills than those who think negatively about aging.” How do you cultivate a positive outlook on aging?

  • Recognize and focus on your strengths: You have accumulated a significant amount of wisdom and experience in your life. Look for ways to share that by volunteering, mentoring, or teaching someone how to do something.
  • Embrace your freedom: You likely have more free time now than when you were younger. Take full advantage of it by pursuing your interests, traveling, learning new skills, etc.
  • Reframe your attitudes: Recognize that aging is part of life, and memory loss is average, not a personal shortcoming. Age and memory loss do not define your identity or determine your worth. 

Build a Support System

People are stronger together. When you surround yourself with a support system of friends and family and take advantage of the available community resources, you will be better able to face the challenges that memory loss in old age might present. 

If you are looking for emotional support, you can find support groups specifically tailored for individuals with memory loss and their caregivers. These groups provide practical assistance as people share their experiences and discuss helpful resources.

Seeking professional help from a therapist is another great option since they can work with you to develop coping skills and strategies. Therapy is also a safe place to discuss your emotions as you work through them.

Foster Social Connections

Another aspect of building your support system is developing social connections. Many avenues exist to find meaningful opportunities to socialize with others: senior centers, community and recreational centers, religious organizations, exercise classes, libraries, and online communities, among others. Finding other people who share your interests and passions can enrich your life and enhance your emotional well-being.

Memory Care Focused on Holistic Health

Memory care services focus on providing care tailored explicitly for people with memory loss. These services can be accessed from stand-alone, drop-in centers, long-term residential communities, and in-home care providers. Your mind is just one part of who you are, so concentrating on your overall health is a great way to enhance your cognitive health. It is optimal to find memory care services that focus on holistic health. 

The Mission at Agua Fria is an excellent choice for memory care. We offer long-term residential services for the whole person by supporting body, mind, and spirit through various services and amenities

Physical Health

Regular exercise, balanced nutrition, and good sleep can all improve physical health and support cognitive function. The Mission at Agua Fria makes it easy with exercise classes, physical therapy, and dining services.

Cognitive Health

When it comes to keeping your mind active, the Mission at Agua Fria has many supportive strategies, including cognitive therapy, on-site library, educational classes, scheduled recreational and cultural outings, and art and music classes and activities. 

Spiritual Health  

Whether you want to try yoga or other mindfulness practices, spend time in nature, attend religious services, or forge emotional connections through an active social life (or all of the above!), the Mission at Agua Fria helps every resident prioritize their spiritual health. 

Memory loss in old age is a part of life, but it doesn’t have to stop you from enjoying a vibrant, meaningful life full of purpose. As you consider incorporating some of the above strategies into your life and embrace a positive attitude toward aging, we would love to share with you all the benefits that memory care at the Mission at Agua Fria can provide you and your family. Contact us today to ask questions or schedule an in-person tour to see what we’re all about!