Susan always knew that when she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over a dozen countries and is planning many more trips. On some days she can be found exploring a hiking trail with her grandchildren, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out enjoying the lake.
Susan always has something new to do or see. But in the back of her mind, Susan is concerned that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
When Susan’s mother was around her age she began to show the first signs of cognitive decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with daily tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. There eventually came a time when she often couldn’t recognize Susan anymore.
Susan has tried to eat a balanced diet and exercise so she could hopefully prevent what her mother experienced. But she’s not sure that will be 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. Here are just three.
1. Get Exercise
Susan found out that she’s already going in the right direction. She does try to get the recommended amount of exercise each day.
Individuals who do modest exercise every day have a decreased risk of mental decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already encountering symptoms of mental decline.
Here are numerous reasons why scientists believe consistent exercise can ward off mental decline.
- As an individual ages, the nervous system deteriorates and regular exercise can slow this. Without these nerves, the brain doesn’t know how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so researchers think that it could also slow mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms in your body that safeguard some cells from damage. These protectors may be created at a higher rate in individuals who get an abundance of exercise.
- Exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease obstructs this blood flow, cells die. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Treat Vision Concerns
The occurrence of mental decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts extracted according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 subjects.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is crucial for mental health in general even though this study only focused on one common cause of eyesight loss.
Losing eyesight at an older age can lead a person to withdraw from their circle of friends and stop doing things they enjoy. Further studies have explored links between social separation and worsening dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. You’ll be protecting yourself against the advancement of dementia if you do what you can to maintain healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be going towards cognitive decline if you have untreated hearing loss. The same researchers from the cataract study gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the progression of mental decline in the same manner.
The results were even more impressive. Mental decline was reduced by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. In other words, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some likely reasons for this.
The social aspect is the first thing. People will often go into isolation when they have neglected hearing loss because interacting with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.
Additionally, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they begin 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 people with neglected hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. People with neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental abilities.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to ward off dementia. If you have hearing loss and are reluctant to get hearing aids, it’s time to schedule a visit with us. Find out about today’s technologically sophisticated designs that help you hear better.