mental fitness

Unfortunately, there’s no magic pill that can prevent memory loss, ward off cognitive decline, or keep us young and healthy forever. Still, we can help maintain our brain health by reducing stress, having a positive attitude, engaging in social activities, being more physically active, and challenging yourself mentally.

Most of these were not possible during our protracted homestay for COVID-19.

These tips and suggestions are intended for you to share with your clients and their families, but you would also do well to incorporate them into your own life!


One suggestion for supporting mental health and memory is supreme: exercise!

Exercise helps the body release hormones that make us feel great and aid in providing a nourishing environment for the growth of brain cells. Research has shown that physical exercise is crucial for maintaining good blood flow to the brain, reducing the risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes, but it also helps protect against the risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease and other types of dementia.

Eat Well and Drink Plenty of Water

Water is essential for overall health, both physical and mental. Try to drink about 64 ounces per day.

Research suggests that nutritional intake influences the development and progression of dementia. Changing your eating habits is cheaper than medication, easier to implement, and safe, if you are eating a balanced diet.

Get a Good Night’s Sleep

Sleep plays a central role in the formation of new neuronal connections and the pruning of old ones. Studies show that getting enough sleep improves reaction time and split-second decision making. A study of cognitively healthy people aged 65 and over showed that daytime napping is associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline. On the other hand, getting less than six and a half hours of sleep each night is associated with an increased risk of cognitive decline.

To help you fall asleep and stay asleep, the National Sleep Foundation recommends sticking to a sleep schedule of the same bedtime and wake-up time—even on the weekends. Many people find it helpful to have a relaxing bedtime routine such as taking a warm bath, staying away from the computer and TV screens at least an hour before bed, or reading for 30 minutes prior to going to sleep. Bedrooms should be a comfortable but cool temperature, free from any noise or light that can disturb your sleep. Make sure your mattress and pillows are comfortable and supportive.

Maintain Friendships and Challenge Yourself

Findings from studies suggest that social engagement and enjoyable hobbies and leisure activities play a role in maintaining cognitive function and delaying or preventing dementia. Studies have also shown that people with more social ties live longer, have better health, and are less depressed. Close relationships and large social networks have a positive impact on memory and cognitive function as people age. Social networks may also facilitate healthy behaviors, such as exercise.

Try these suggestions to keep cognitive functions sharp:

  • Learn to play a new game or teach a friend your favorite card game
  • Volunteer to read to children or tutor a child
  • Build a complicated model or assemble a complex puzzle
  • Join a book group
  • Learn to play a musical instrument
  • Take up a new hobby
  • Usher at your local community theater

Keep a Positive Attitude

Maintaining a positive attitude helps to sustain cognitive health. Try these ideas to keep spirits up:

  • Set personal goals—Goals don’t have to be ambitious, but reaching one builds morale and a sense of satisfaction.
  • Keep a journal—Expressing yourself after a stressful day can help you gain perspective and release tension.
  • Share funnies—Life can be too serious, so when you hear or see something funny, share it with someone you know.
  • Accept yourself—Seek out and embrace the positive traits of yourself and your life.
  • Express gratitude—People who are appreciative cope with stress better and have more positive emotions.
  • Accept yourself—Seek out and embrace the positive traits of yourself and your life.