Susan always recognized that when she retired she would be living the active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now visited more than 12 countries and has many more to go. On some days you’ll find her tackling a hiking trail with her grandchildren, on others she will be volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and sometimes you will see her out on the lake.
Susan always has something new to see or do. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
Her mother showed first signs of dementia when she was around Susan’s age. Susan watched her mother, who she had always loved and respected, struggle more and more with day-to-day tasks over a 15 year period. She’s becoming forgetful. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to stay healthy, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been shown to slow cognitive decline and dementia?
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Regularly
This one was already part of Susan’s everyday life. Each day she tries to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
Individuals who do modest exercise daily have a reduced risk of mental decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already encountering symptoms of cognitive decline.
Researchers believe that exercise may ward off mental decline for several really important reasons.
- Exercise slows the degeneration of the nervous system that typically happens as we get older. Without these nerves, the brain won’t know how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so researchers believe that it could also slow mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. Your body has functions that protect certain types of cells from harm. These protectors may be produced at a higher level in people who get enough exercise.
- Exercise decreases the danger of cardiovascular disease. Blood carries nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease stops this blood flow, cells die. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise may be able to delay dementia.
2. Address Vision Problems
The rate of mental decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study conducted on 2000 subjects.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is crucial for mental health in general even though this research only concentrated on one common cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and withdraw from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Further studies have examined links between social separation and worsening dementia.
If you have cataracts, don’t just dismiss them. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the development of dementia if you do what you can to maintain healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be heading towards mental decline if you have neglected hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that performed the cataract research. They used the same techniques to test for the progression of mental decline.
The results were even more impressive. The group who got the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decrease by 75%. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
This has some probable reasons.
First is the social component. Individuals who have neglected hearing loss often socially isolate themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social clubs and events.
Also, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. The deterioration progressively impacts other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
Researchers have, in fact, utilized an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with untreated hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. The brain actually shrinks in individuals with neglected hearing loss.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to ward off dementia. If you have hearing loss and are hesitant to get hearing aids, it’s time to make an appointment with us. Find out how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.