Anne Hegerty’s Top Tips to Keeping Your Brain Active

  • Dementia UK’s Time for a Cuppa Week is 1st – 8th May 2022
  • Late life crossword puzzle participation delays onset of memory decline in persons who developed dementia
  • TV’s Anne Hegerty offers top tips on keeping your brain active

We sat down for a cuppa with Anne Hegerty, one of the UK’s best -known quizzers, to find out her top tips on keeping your brain active.

If you sometimes find it hard to summon up the word you need, remember to put the bins out, or yet again forgotten to buy the milk – you are not alone. As we get older, it's easy to think that we are losing it but although it is harder to form new memories, forgetting things doesn't necessarily mean we are on the road to dementia!

Even Anne Hegerty, one of the UK’s best known quizzers admits that remembering certain facts doesn’t always come easy "I do have to put the effort into learning certain things."

Part of Anne’s memory practise is to take part in as many quizzes as she can to keep her brain active and train her brain into memorising certain facts and figures. Just as physical activity helps keep your body in shape, mentally stimulating activities help keep your brain in shape — and might keep memory loss at bay.

Findings from the Journal of the International Neuropsychological Society show that late life crossword puzzle participation, independent of education, was associated with delayed onset of memory decline in persons who developed dementia.

Here are a few more tips to keep your mind active:

  1. Stay mentally active

Do crossword puzzles. Play bridge. Take alternate routes when driving. Learn to play a musical instrument. Volunteer at a local school or community organisation.

  1. Socialise regularly

Social interaction helps ward off depression and stress, both of which can contribute to memory loss. Look for opportunities to get together with loved ones, friends and others — especially if you live alone.

  1. Get organized

You're more likely to forget things if your home is cluttered and your notes are in disarray. Jot down tasks, appointments and other events in a special notebook, calendar or electronic planner. You might even repeat each entry out loud as you jot it down to help cement it in your memory. Keep to-do lists current and check off items you've completed. Set aside a place for your wallet, keys, glasses and other essentials.

Limit distractions and don't do too many things at once. If you focus on the information that you're trying to retain, you're more likely to recall it later. It might also help to connect what you're trying to retain to a favourite song or another familiar concept.

"There are certain facts which I always find hard to remember in the right order, so for those I use mnemonic. Taking the first letter of a list and making it spell out a phrase."

Anne's method is like saying Never Eat Shredded Wheat to remember the points of a compass, but a lot more complicated! Her most recent example is how to remember the order of the Caribbean Islands using a mnemonic about a dog drinking gin and tonic!

  1. Sleep well

Sleep plays an important role in helping you consolidate your memories, so you can recall them down the road. Make getting enough sleep a priority. Most adults need seven to nine hours of sleep a day.

  1. Eat a healthy diet

A healthy diet might be as good for your brain as it is for your heart. Eat fruits, vegetables and whole grains. Choose low-fat protein sources, such as fish, beans and skinless poultry.

If you struggle to include all of these memory boosting ingredients in your diet, you can always supplement your diet with vitamins, minerals and herbs featured in Manuka Plus Forget-Bee-Not, a daily food supplement for the maintenance of normal cognitive, psychological and brain function. Made with Vitamin B12, Iron, Zinc, Iodine, DHA and Freeze Dried Manuka Honey. 

You can do your part to help raise vital funds for families facing dementia by hosting your own tea party. You can find more details here.

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    Article References
    1. Jagan A Pillai et al. Association of Crossword Puzzle Participation with Memory Decline in Persons Who Develop Dementia. J Int Neuropsychol Soc. 2011 Nov; 17(6)