Education and more social activities are two ways to maintain a healthy memory, new research finds.
In addition, novel cognitive activities, like learning a new language, are also linked to a more healthy memory.
These are among the ways that people can protect themselves against declining memory.
Other protective factors for memory include maintaining a healthy weight, good self-maintenance and living with a companion.
Dr Peggy McFall, the study’s first author, said:
“We found different risk factors for stable memory and for rapidly declining memory.
It may be possible to use these factors to improve outcomes for older adults.”
The conclusions come from a study of 882 older adults whose memories were tested.
The researchers looked at things that can and cannot be changed by individuals.
The results showed that people with healthy memories tended to be educated, female and engage in more social activities.
They were also more likely to try novel cognitive activities.
Dr McFall said:
“These modifiable risk and protective factors may be converted to potential intervention targets for the dual purpose of promoting healthy memory aging or preventing or delaying accelerated decline, impairment, and perhaps dementia.”
About the author
Psychologist, Jeremy Dean, PhD is the founder and author of PsyBlog. He holds a doctorate in psychology from University College London and two other advanced degrees in psychology.
He has been writing about scientific research on PsyBlog since 2004. He is also the author of the book “Making Habits, Breaking Habits” (Da Capo, 2003) and several ebooks:
- Accept Yourself: How to feel a profound sense of warmth and self-compassion
- The Anxiety Plan: 42 Strategies For Worry, Phobias, OCD and Panic
- Spark: 17 Steps That Will Boost Your Motivation For Anything
- Activate: How To Find Joy Again By Changing What You Do
The study was published in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease (McFall et al., 2019).