Senior Citizen's Guide to Metro Detroit 17 Article Health Can crossword puzzles and photographs really help older Americans? Absolutely, says Shaun Jayakar, MD, St. John Hospital and Medical Center internist and geriatrician. “Mental exercise can be a huge benefit for people as they age, especially those with dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. “ Whether memory loss is hindering your (or a loved one’s) lifestyle, or you’re just noticing some forgetfulness, mental exercise can delay the loss of intellectual ability that faces many as they age. There are three broad types of memory issues: • Dementia: A loss of memory and intellectual ability, enough to interfere with normal life. • Alzheimer’s disease: A degenerative and progressive disease that causes problems with memory, thinking, and behavior. • Vascular Dementia. Diminished intellectual abilities that result from repeated cerebral strokes or lack of blood flow to the brain. While there is much research going on to find a vaccine, cure, or lasting and effective treatment for these issues, there is no current cure for dementia. But, there are many things you can do. Keep Current to Day, Time, and Events To keep your circadian rhythm from getting out of whack, keep lights on during the day, and off during the night. To make things simple, buy a timer from a home improvement store to automatically keep lights on schedule. Get a newspaper subscription, or watch TV or listen to radio news to stay current on world and local Mental Exercise Can Help Seniors Improve Memory Skills