Memory Care America - June 2020

As we age, our bodies change, including our mental functions. Cognitive decline is one of the biggest fears of aging, but it’s not inevitable. Though we’re still learning new things about how our brains work, there’s a lot of scientific research that shows how to keep your brain young. If you want to keep your mind sharp throughout your lifetime, then follow this advice from Harvard Medical School. 1. Get a good workout. Exercising regularly helps all the muscles and organs in your body, even your brain! A good workout can lower your blood pressure and improve your cholesterol levels, which help your brain and your heart. Harvard Health Publishing, a website of Harvard Medical School, also notes that “animals who exercise regularly increase the number of tiny blood vessels that bring oxygen- rich blood to the region of the brain that is responsible for thought.” 2. Pay attention to your mental health. Poor mental health can lead to impaired cognitive function. Chronic anxiety, depression, and exhaustion tend to cause low scores on cognitive function tests. But test scores aren't necessarily a sign of future cognitive decline, and Harvard Health Publishing urges readers to maintain good mental health and get restful sleep, as they are “certainly important goals” for improving cognitive function and overall well-being. 3. Stay connected. It’s not enough to focus on yourself. In order to maintain your long-term cognitive health, you should also focus on your connections with other people. According to KEEP YOUR BRAIN YOUNG 3 Tips for Good Brain Health From Harvard Medical School

Sharing Your Stories

Memory Care and Us: Victor Ellsworth Shares His Wife’s Story

Every month, one family across our Memory Care America communities shares their journey with a dementia diagnosis. This past month, we received the following message from the husband of one of our residents, and we believe it’s too sweet not to share in this space.

On Jan. 13, 2020, my wife, Jan, became a resident at Memory Care of Little Rock, and as a couple, we have now begun the next part of our journey together.

I have been fortunate to share my life as a musician and educator with Jan for more than 42 years. She was a reading coordinator, history teacher, and alternative high school educator and mentor in public schools and universities, all while being a caring mother of four. Together as a family, we traveled from Wisconsin to Ohio and, finally, to Arkansas. When it became apparent that I could no longer provide a safe haven for Jan, my three daughters helped me look for a new home for her. Finally, we found Memory Care of Little Rock, where we know she is safe. She is now part of a community that values her and looks after her. I was fortunate to share lunch every day with her for the first two months until the pandemic forced Memory Care of Little Rock into lockdown for the safety of the residents. Each day while having lunch, I saw visiting family members caring for their loved ones, the staff and administration members paying careful attention to the well-being of all of the residents, and a sense of community. The director, Matt, has continually provided important emails with updates regarding how Memory Care of Little Rock is guarding its residents during the virus outbreak. His emails have also provided ways for us to communicate with our loved ones through emails, snail mail, FaceTime, and — for those of us who live close to Memory Care of Little Rock — a “window visit.” That window visit allows me to safely visit and talk to Jan for a few precious minutes. Most importantly, I have learned that when I have a concern, I can contact Nancy, Marta, Rachel, or Cathy and receive a timely response. So, dementia is part of our lives now, and the virus has been a game-changer. Yet, my family's choice to give Jan's well-being to Memory Care of Little Rock allows me to sleep at night. –Victor Ellsworth Thank you, Victor, for sharing your story with us. Our family stories are why we are so passionate about the work we do. If you know someone who could benefit from our services, don’t keep our work a secret! Referrals are the best compliments you can give us. Direct them to our communities at MemoryCareAmerica.com or find us on Facebook.

Harvard Health Publishing, “Strong social ties have been associated with a lower risk of dementia, as well as lower blood pressure and longer life expectancy.” Make new friends, stay in touch with family members, and maintain positive relationships in your life.

They say an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure. This is certainly true when it comes to your brain health. Do what you can today to protect your mental functions tomorrow.

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Do Not Keep Our Work a Secret!

www.MemoryCareAmerica.com

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