As we get older, we start noticing some changes in our lives. The most common of these is becoming forgetful. Things that should otherwise be simple, like remembering where we put the keys, become a lot more challenging. These changes in the way we think can be a normal part of aging or could point to a much more serious issue such as dementia. Research has discovered several ways to keep our minds sharp and these are what we are going to be looking at below.
Watch Your Cholesterol and High Blood Pressure
High cholesterol levels and high blood pressure increase the risk of strokes and heart disease, both of which have been shown to contribute to some types of dementia and cognitive decline. Many of the things you can do to lower your cholesterol levels and blood pressure, such as being physically active, eating a balanced diet, not smoking, and keeping a healthy weight, also have an array of other benefits as well including improved cognitive function.
Stimulating the Brain
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities enables seniors to build up a cognitive reserve. Building up this reserve is one of the best ways to delay or reduce the cognitive changes that are associated with aging and conditions like dementia and Alzheimer’s.
Senior assisted living centers that take care of seniors will put a lot of emphasis on activities that stimulate the brain. SeniorCare Homes, which provides an assisted living environment for seniors as well as Dementia & Alzheimer’s Care Overland Park KS, also encourages its residents to take up the adoption of new technology. They combine this with mentally stimulating activities by providing iPads for their residents to engage in Alzheimer’s activities and games. By doing this, SeniorCare Homes helps seniors become more independent and more likely to participate in daily life in the houses they live in.
Don’t Smoke or Drink Excessively
Both drinking and smoking have been shown to increase the risk of dementia as we age. If you smoke or drink, it would be a good idea to quit. If you cannot, then reduce the number of cigarettes you smoke and the amount you drink.
Eat a Healthy Diet
A study published in the Journal of the New York Academy of Sciences in 2016 found that B vitamins, vitamin E, and omega-3 fatty acids can help prevent dementia. The effects were even more pronounced if the participants also avoided saturated fats.
Green leafy vegetables, seafood, and berries have been shown to have neuroprotective properties. Diets that emphasize eating healthy fats like olive oil, fruits and vegetables, low-fat or fat-free dairy, whole grains, and lean meat have also been shown to be good for the brain.
A 2018 study of older adults in China found that seniors with high social engagements were at a lower risk of dementia than those with low social engagement. So, try as much as you can to spend time with friends and family.
Cognitive decline is normal as we age. That does not mean that we cannot take measures to slow it down or reduce its effects. By following the tips outlined above, you will improve your mental sharpness and therefore be able to reduce or delay the cognitive changes associated with aging.