Slowing Memory Loss with Age

July 05, 2017 03:29 PM

(ABC 6 News) - Sometimes as people get older, their memory starts to fade, but recent findings from the National Academies of Science show that certain techniques can change that.

“I wish things could be where they were so that I could do things without worrying about anything," said Donna Ties who was diagnosed with Alzheimer's six years ago.


"I would set her meds up in the ‘medi’ set up and she was unable to figure out how to open them and take them," Ties' daughter Karen Hanson said.  

"Some people benefit from these brain exercises," said Dr. Ron Petersen with the Mayo Clinic Alzheimer's Disease Center. 

Petersen, who was on the committee that wrote a recent report for the National Academies of Sciences, said there are ways to help with memory before a diagnosis of dementia or Alzheimer’s.

"The exercises that were done 10 years ago actually had an effect two years out, five and 10 years out at slowing down cognitive aging," Petersen said.  

The report concluded that there are three ways to help slow cognitive aging.

“Number one, certain cognitive training exercises seem to work, number two, controlling our blood pressure mainly in mid-life, and aerobic exercises such as walking or jogging," Petersen said.  

These were all classroom style approaches without the use of a computer or what Petersen calls "brain games."

"How to remember lists of words how to remember stories by giving them various mnemonic techniques," Petersen said.  

"I just miss a lot of things I'm not able to do," Ties said.  

And although there is no way to prevent Alzheimer’s, Hanson told ABC 6 News she hopes these finding can help others with Alzheimer’s someday.

"I just think whatever can be done to make somebody else's life better that's dealing with these cognitive issues, it's worth it even though it's not going to save our situation," Hanson said.

Even though Ties has already been diagnosed with Alzheimer's, she still does go on walks frequently to get exercise and movement, to help keep her body and mind active.


Elise Romas

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