LPNI Health Topic – December 2015


Your brain and memory - Use it or lose it


Did you know that your brain is the most powerful organ in your body?  As we age, most people experience at least some subtle changes in our vision, hearing, balance, as well as in our brain. We may find it harder to recall names, faces, and other information.  We may learn new things at a slower speed.  We may find multitasking more difficult (if ever it was a good idea!).  We may experience memory lapses, such as where you parked your car, or where you put your keys or glasses.   Though there is no proven way to stop some of these changes from occurring, there are steps we can take to better care for ourselves and stay mentally alive and well.


1.  Stay active physically  ̶  exercise regularly.                                                                       

2.  Get a good night’s sleep.  Sleep deprivation can lead to forgetfulness and decreased concentration.                                                           

3.  Limit alcohol which leads to decreased concentration, memory and judgment, motor skills and the increased risk of developing dementia.

4.  Manage stress.  Chronic stress can lead to a decreased immune system, which leads to fatigue, anxiety, depressing, anger and irritability.              

5.  Choose positive and meaningful contacts rather than those that cause negative emotions.         

6.  Eat well.  The right foods can enhance memory, build new brain cells, and possibly help ward off dementia.  This includes dark colored fruits and vegetables, olive and canola oil, nuts, tea, coffee, and dark chocolate!                                                                                                                                                                  

There is more!  Healthy lifestyle habits can also enhance brain functions and prevent memory problems.  Use it or lose it!

1.  Keep a calendar.                                                                                                   

2.  Clear the clutter.  Keeping your environment clutter-free can help minimize distractions and improve memory.                                          

3.  Focus and slow down.  Do one thing at a time.  Minimize distractions and overloading.           

4.  Cross-train and "engage" your brain.  Vary your routine, and challenge yourself with intellectual stimulation.  Stay up to date.                             

5.  Be involved.   Volunteer, stay connected.  Join a Bible study group, a prayer group or book club.


Though you cannot do all of the above, you can identify the things you are already doing that help to keep you mentally sharp, and then pick one step at a time to make sure you use the gifts you have been given … praising God for this most powerful organ – your brain!                                                                                                                                                                                   

But this I call to mind, and therefore I have hope: the steadfast love of the Lord never ceases, his mercies never come to an end; they are new every morning; great is your faithfulness.  (Lamentations 3:21-23)                                                                                                                                                                       

May the Lord bless and protect you; may the Lord’s face radiate with joy because of you; may he be gracious to you, show his favor, and give you his peace.  (Numbers 6:24-26)               


Lois Peacock, RN

Parish Nurse District Representative

Zion Lutheran Church

San Francisco, CA, USA