5 Ways to Keep Your Mind Active and Memory Sharp in Retirement
As inspiration for this post, I would like to thank my grandma. I called her to ask if she had any funny memory-loss moments she would like share. She paused.
“I would love to help you, but I can’t remember,” she said. Both laughing, I told her that was all I needed.
But jokes aside, this is a common problem for retirees. It’s not a problem you can prevent entirely, but by keeping your mind active, you can help keep your memory sharp. A body in motion tends to stay in motion, and a mind at work continues to work properly.
This is why soon-to-be retirees should think of ways they will engage their brains. Here are 5 ideas to get you started.
- Read More—and Do It Online, Too!
Reading stretches your mind. It forces you to wrestle with new ideas. It is a true mental workout. A Mayo Clinic study confirms it: people who reported reading magazines were 30% less likely to develop memory loss! Interestingly enough, in the same study, they also found that “people who used a computer once a week or more were 42% less likely to develop memory and thinking problems than those who did not”. So why not do both at once and read online? It looks like you’re already taking this advice!
- Play Another Hand of Cards.
An occasional game of crazy eights with your grandkids might not be the most beneficial (especially if you’re letting them win), but competitive card games with old friends may just do the trick. In fact, in AARP’s article “A Bridge to Brainpower,” they make a compelling case for why playing bridge is a fun way to stay mentally sharp. How?
Of course, a lot of it has to do with the challenge, the strategy, and the problem solving the game exercises. But it also has a lot to do with the social interaction the game requires (which brings me to my next point).
- Keep In Touch With Family, Friends, and the Community.
Call a friend you haven’t talked to in a while. Invite the neighbors over for a cookout. Join a bible study at church. A gym. A club. Anything. Social interaction will not only make you happier, it also keeps your mind active, preventing memory loss.
Research conducted by the Harvard School of Public Health suggests that (what they call) “social integration” may have a positive affect on memory decline. So as you approach retirement, be thinking of ways that you can be involved in others’ lives.
- Keep Learning.
You don’t have to crack open the dull textbooks again. I’m not talking about academics. I’m talking about developing a lifestyle that craves to know more and try new things. Because—according to Brain Fitness Strategies—the process of learning grows new brain cells. Don’t just settle with maintaining; grow as much as you can in retirement. Pick up a hobby. Cook up some new, challenging recipes. Or (Cycling back to the first tip), maybe read a bit. It will do you good.
- Work Part-Time.
Work? Retirement? For those about to retire, it might seem like these words should never be in the same sentence. Not so. A lot of retirees are working part time, and not just for the extra buck (although that’s a perk).
This might be why: “Data from the United States, England and 11 other European countries suggest that the earlier people retire, the more quickly their memories decline,” says New York Times journalist, Gina Kolata.
Now I’m not saying you should keep your stressful office job or spend one more backbreaking minute on the factory floor, but picking up a casual part-time job might be beneficial…to both your pocketbook and your mind.
Above All…Make Memories!
But regardless of what you do to keep your mind active, do something you enjoy. With a little bit of thought and creativity, I know that you can kill two birds with one stone…improving your memory and making memories all at the same time.
Turning 65 and not sure what you have to do? Sign up for one of our “Welcome to Medicare Workshops” at www.seniormark.com/workshops .