Susan always recognized that when she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over 12 countries and is planning many more trips. 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 enjoying 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.
When Susan’s mother was around her age she began showing the first signs of mental decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with everyday tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to stay healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she’s not sure that will be enough. Is there anything else she can do that’s been found to slow cognitive decline and dementia?
The good news is, it is possible to prevent cognitive decline by doing a few things. Here are only three.
1. Exercise Everyday
This one was already part of Susan’s everyday life. Each day she tries to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
Many studies support the fact that people who do modest exercise consistently as they age have a decreased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already noticing symptoms of cognitive decline.
Here are numerous reasons why scientists believe regular exercise can stave off mental decline.
- As a person gets older, the nervous system degenerates and consistent exercise can slow this. The brain needs these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and consider how to do things. Scientists think that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows cognitive decline.
- Neuroprtection factors may be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms in your body that protect some cells from harm. These protectors might be created at a higher level in individuals who get enough exercise.
- Exercise reduces the danger of cardiovascular disease. Blood carries oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise may be able to slow down dementia.
2. Have Vision Problems Treated
The rate of cognitive decline was cut almost in half in people who had their cataracts extracted according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is essential for cognitive health in general even though this study only concentrated on one common cause of eyesight loss.
People often begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between cognitive decline and social isolation is the focus of other studies.
Having cataracts treated is crucial. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the development of dementia if you do what you can to maintain healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you might be on your way to cognitive decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They tested the advancement of mental decline in the same manner.
They got even more remarkable results. Cognitive decline was reduced by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
There are some likely reasons for this.
The social component is the first thing. People who have untreated hearing loss often socially seclude themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Second, when a person gradually begins to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. The degeneration gradually impacts other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
In fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with neglected hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. People who have neglected hearing loss actually have shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to ward off dementia. If you’re putting off on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing exam. Learn about today’s technologically advanced designs that help you hear better.