Outside of your physical health, your memory is one of the biggest factors which may affect your independence as you get older.
But there is some good news. There are a number of things you can do many things to improve your memory.
The bad news is that there is no one “silver bullet” to help people maintain a great memory as they get older, Professor of Aged Care Colleen Doyle says.
“Just doing one simple thing is not going to make a lot of difference. You have to do a range of things like attending to your diet, make sure you keep active,” Colleen says.
“But the good news is that all these things have great benefits to other parts of your life.”
Here are a few tips from our experts…
There is evidence that people who keep learning new things in retirement have better memories.
“Learning things outside your comfort zone – like a new language – can be really good for you,” Professor Doyle said.
It can be anything from learning a new language, an instrument or improving existing skills like crossword puzzles or playing a game of chess.
The important thing is to keep exercising the brain.
Staying social in retirement is another great way to support your memory.
People who are part of a couple engaged with family and have many friends perform better when their memories are tested.
So the advice here is, stay social in your retirement. Work often provides people with opportunities to socialise. Equally, retirement should give people more free time. A good investment of that time is to socialise with your friends, make new friends or join a group.
Why not consider a retirement community when you are ready to downsize. Retirement communities offer great opportunities to socialise with people enjoying a similar stage of life.
Avoid stress and anxiety
Stress negatively affects people’s memories. If you want to improve your memory, pay attention to your stress levels.
“Remaining calm and not getting too anxious can improve your memory,” Professor Doyle says.
“There’s some evidence that people who are really anxious have poorer memories because that’s interfering with how their memories are being embedded.”
Try a memory game
Memory apps and games are very popular and can be a fun way to exercise the brain.
While researchers are still analysing just how effective they are, the good news is that these games are not doing any harm.
“There’s no doubt that if people practise a task like a memory game – no matter what age – most people will get better at that task, but will it generalise to other tasks,” Australian Catholic University Professor Peter Rendell says.