January 14th, 2011 at 3:11 am
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Memory fitness plan: Socialize and stay connected

by Kathryn Kilpatrick, M.A. CCC/SLP

If we want to stay mentally active, finding ways to stay engaged in life is something that needs to become a major part of our memory fitness plan.

Research repeatedly recommends staying connected with others and day 5 of this memory fitness plan offers some ideas. Sometimes our interests change and we plan to get involved in something new and our busy schedules get in the way. If there are health issues, increased frailty, or transportation issues, the desire may be there but without some support from others it may not happen. Sometimes friends and family may move away or something happens in the relationship causing an uncomfortable scenario so our circle shrinks just a little more. For those older adults who are active, it seems they have more and more options and will take advantage of those with the most appeal. They are certainly paying attention to the current research which supports staying involved for successful aging.

Consider adding variety to some of the ways you socialize with others. Upgrading your memory fitness routine is an excellent strategy and coming up with new ways to incorporate socialization into your lifestyle choices has even more advantages. While our time is at a premium, investing in our overall health might be a good enough reason to fit a little more time creating new ways to spend time with others. Perhaps it will be with an older adult who has some of the limitations previously mentioned or through a new group you might join.

Several years ago I decided I wanted to expand my circle and made a resolution to attend something that I typically do not take the time to do. Even if I only create this experience a few times a year, I am enhancing my life experiences. Asking a friend with a similar interest to share the time together, including a meal after for a discussion, creates not only a time out from busyness but has led me to explore a couple of new interests. Sometimes we need to just step out of our box!

Volunteering your time is an excellent option. We all have busy schedules and a lot of responsibilities, so this may seem like a stretch. Just take some small steps. Perhaps we know someone who has trouble getting to the store and we could take them or offer to pick up some things at the store. If there is an older adult in the neighborhood, we might be able to get a group together for a few hours and help clean up the yard in the fall. One of my friends makes sure that the older woman in her book club has transportation to the meetings since she does not drive at night. We are certainly helping out someone else but the benefits to us are sometimes much more. For details on the 7 day program, refer to Create a Memory Fitness Plan.

“One way to get the most out of life is to look upon it as an adventure.” William Feather

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