Senior Brain health EMbassyWhen it comes to staying healthy as we age, we know that exercise strengthens weak muscles, a nutritious diet helps our energy levels stay up, and staying on top of our healthcare helps to prevent illness. But did you know that you can combat the effects of aging on your brain, too?

Here are five ways to keep your brain healthy and strong.

1. Take care of your body.
As you age, your body needs a little more help to stay fit and healthy. At Embassy Healthcare, we focus on three main areas to support your body and your brain: sleep, exercise and a healthy diet.

Quantity and quality of sleep is important at any age because your brain needs time to process, rest and form memories. But older adults can find it difficult to fall asleep. Establishing a routine will help, as will a dark, cool room with no distractions. Blue light that emanates from electronics such as TVs and e-readers can affect your body's sleep-inducing melatonin levels. If you find you're not tired enough at bedtime, try reading a book for a little while before you turn in.

Exercise increases blood flow to the brain, which helps to encourage brain function and also reduces your risk of heart attack, stroke, and diabetes. Try to do 30 minutes of exercise every day.

Your brain is a delicate balance of chemicals, fats, proteins and more. Eat a balanced and varied diet rich in dark fruits and vegetables, lean meats, fish and healthy fats to give your brain the materials it needs to stay healthy.

2. Read and write
It's easy to fall into a pattern of watching TV to pass the time, but it doesn't stimulate your brain the right way. In fact, too much screen time has been shown to increase the chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer's.

Reading and writing help stimulate the parts of the brain essential for thinking, language and memory. Try to read at least 30 minutes every day, even if you need to break it up into small chunks of time. While you're not reading, try your hand at hand writing! Write down your memories, notes to friends or creative stories. Let us know if you need books or writing materials!

3. Play games and puzzles
Playing games with your family and friends not only helps you stay social, it can also help your brain! Putting together a jigsaw puzzle, doing a crossword puzzle, playing cards and even playing videos games all have beneficial effects on your brain. Each of our facilities has scheduled opportunities to socialize and play plenty of games. We don't even mind if you get a little competitive!

4. Learn to play an instrument
If you already play a musical instrument, keep on playing! If you don't play an instrument, or took lessons years ago, now is the time to jump in. The beneficial effects of playing an instrument on your brain are enormous – just a few months of musical study has been shown improve your brain function, hearing and hand movement. At Embassy Healthcare, we will help you coordinate lessons and cheer you on during your performances. You might even want to start a community band!

5. Socialize
When you and your friends get together, you're doing more than passing the time and enjoying each other's company. Chatting and interacting with peers is essentially exercise for your brain. Not only do you glean emotional benefit from spending time with family and friends, but socializing can actually reverse many of the effects aging has on your brain.

To keep your brain healthy, just remember to keep your brain busy and don't allow yourself to become isolated. At Embassy Healthcare, we know how important it is for you to stay physically and mentally active. Rely on us to help you come up with fun and engaging actives that support your body and mind.