In one study, (MacArthur Foundation Research Network on An Aging Society), the characteristic correlating most with good mental functioning in old age was a person’s level of education. Advanced education may help keep memory strong because these people are already in the habit of being mentally active. However, anyone can increase his current level of new learning. Reading regularly, keeping up with current affairs, learning a new hobby, and playing challenging games all exercise your mind.
Social support – meaning close and frequent ties with others – can improve the mental performance of older people, according to the MacArthur study. Social support can come from friends, relatives, or caregivers. We probably already know this but it is the supportive aspect that is critical – the relationships must make people feel good about themselves.