Many factors of aging can contribute to memory loss.  Researchers are exploring possible contributing factors and information concerning activities and lifestyles that may minimize the risk and degree of memory loss.

Memory is associated with the area of the brain call the hippocampus, which is known to shrink in size with aging.   Research from the University of Pittsburgh suggests that moderate exercise for one year can increase the size of hippocampus and slow or even improve age-related memory loss. 

Researchers randomly divided 120 sedentary seniors between the ages of 55 and 80 into two groups.  One group participated in aerobic exercise which consisted of walking around a track for 40 minutes three times a week.  The second group was limited to a stretching routine, yoga and lightweight training.  Brain scans were performed at the beginning of the study, at six months, and again at the completion of the one year study period.  Results showed that the size of the hippocampus increased in the walking group and decreased in the group that stretched.  Memory tests were conducted at the same intervals and memory function also increased from the baseline test in the walking group.  Chemicals in the brain associated with memory were also found to increase with the size of the hippocampus.  

Researchers concluded that even a modest increase in exercise may improve memory and slow normal aging in the brain, suggesting it is never to late to begin exercising.

 A new study conducted by French researchers suggests that older people with the cluster of chronic diseases associated with metabolic syndrome may be at increased risk for memory loss.  

Metabolic syndrome includes the symptoms of high blood pressure, fat deposits at the waistline, high blood sugar, a low level of “good” or HDL cholesterol, and high triglyceride levels. 

Over 7000 people 65 years old and over were tested for this syndrome with 16 percent having the risk factors.  Participants were given memory tests at the beginning of the research, two years later and at the end of the fourth year.  Those with metabolic syndrome were 20 percent  more likely to have memory decline. Results indicated that managing metabolic syndrome may help slow down age related memory. 

Caregivers referred by Griswold Special Care monitor medication compliance, offer medication reminders and accompany clients to physician appointments helping manage the symptoms of metabolic syndrome. Caregivers assist with the activities of daily living, prepare nutritious meals, assist with grocery shopping for healthy foods, and encourage exercise by providing motivation, companionship, and ambulation assistance.  

Companionship is often all that is needed to foster healthier living instead of existing in an isolated sedentary lifestyle.   Caregivers referred by Griswold Special Care will help you remember to eat right, and exercise regularly; so you can continue to remember.