Six Tips to Stay Mentally Sharp At Any Age


Although it’s normal for people to experience some changes in their cognitive abilities as they age, it’s not a given, studies show.

Some people remain mentally sharp well into their 80s, 90s, and beyond – defying the common assumption that cognitive decline is a natural part of aging.

When researchers with the National Institute on Aging set out to study how the brain changes with age, they found that some people perform much better on memory tests than others. These “cognitive super-agers” as researchers called them can recall a list of words, remember past events and complete other memory challenges much better than other adults their age.

So what are these people doing differently? And what can you do to stay mentally sharp?

Studies have shown some basic health habits go a long way to help prevent cognitive decline and reduce the risk of dementia.

Stay Physically Active

Regular physical activity helps maintain blood flow to the brain and also reduces your risk of conditions such as high blood pressure and arthritis.

A study published in 2020 found additional positive effects of exercise on the brain and concluded that promoting a physically active lifestyle in older adults could potentially delay about one-third of dementia cases worldwide. 

Low-impact exercise — like walking, swimming, cycling, golf and strength training — are great choices for senior adults.

At Senior Star we offer a wide variety of movement and exercise programs to help you stay active.

Try one of our programs, such as:

  • ShapeMaster®
  • Zumba Gold®
  • Walking Club
  • Laughter Yoga 
  • Rock Steady Boxing 

Keep Learning

A higher level of education is associated with better mental functioning in your senior years.

Experts think that advanced education may help keep memory strong by getting a person to adopt an attitude of lifelong learning.

Challenging your brain with mental exercise is believed to activate processes that help maintain individual brain cells and stimulate communication within the different parts of the brain. Pursuing a hobby, learning a new skill, volunteering or mentoring are great ways to keep your mind sharp.

At Senior Star our communities offer a wide variety of opportunities for residents to challenge their minds.

From book clubs and cultural excursions to Dakim® BrainFitness and game nights, our Signature Programs and special events are designed to promote intellectual wellness.

In our Memory Care communities, our innovative programming, multi-sensory environments and Destination Stations are designed to give residents a variety of ways to stay energized and engaged.  

Get Enough Sleep

Good sleep is one of the most important self-care practices. A good night’s rest is crucial for maintaining cognitive performance, physical health, and mood.

Losing even a few hours of sleep can have detrimental effects on a wide variety of cognitive processes such as attention, language, reasoning, decision-making, learning and memory. Adults need about 7 hours of sleep every night.

Spend Time with Family and Friends

According to the American Academy of Neurology, older people who have little social contact with others may be more likely to have a loss of overall brain volume when compared to people with more frequent social contact. This brain atrophy is well-documented in people who suffer from dementia.

Social isolation is associated with about a 50% increased risk of dementia.

Living in a community provides unlimited options for social interaction. Between events, activities, clubs, dining venues, and close neighbors, seniors who choose to live in a community of their peers soon discover new friends who feel like family.

Save Your Mental Energy

If you don’t need to use mental energy remembering where you laid your keys or the time of your granddaughter’s birthday party, you’ll be better able to concentrate on learning and remembering new and important things – according to Harvard researchers.

Take advantage of smartphone reminders, calendars, planners, shopping lists, and address books to keep routine information accessible. Designate a place at home for your glasses, purse, keys, and other items you use often.

Believe in Yourself

Myths about aging can contribute to memory problems. Senior adults do worse on memory tasks when they’re exposed to negative stereotypes and misconceptions about aging 

It can be funny to joke about “senior moments” but older adults who fall into that habit too often are at risk of becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy.

If you believe you can improve and you translate that belief into practice, you have a better chance of keeping your mind sharp.

Finally, it’s important to note that aging may also bring positive cognitive changes. For example, many studies have shown that older adults have larger vocabularies and greater knowledge of the depth of meaning of words than younger adults.

Older adults may also have learned from their many years of accumulated knowledge and experiences. With good habits and a good attitude toward aging, you can impress your friends and family with your mental sharpness and your wisdom for many years to come.

 Contact us to learn more.