Susan always knew that after she retired she would be living the active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to more than 12 countries and is planning many more trips. On some days you’ll find her tackling a hiking trail with her grandkids, 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 do or see. 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 about Susan’s age. Over a 15 year period, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her without condition struggled with what seemed to be simple tasks. She forgets random things. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Having experienced what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to stay healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising. But she wonders, is this enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been found to delay cognitive decline and dementia?
Thankfully, there are things that can be done to avert cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Get Exercise
This one was already part of Susan’s daily life. Every day she attempts to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.
Many studies support the fact that people who do modest exercise regularly as they age have a decreased risk for mental decline and dementia. They’ve also had a positive effect on people who are already experiencing symptoms of mental decline.
Here are a number of reasons why researchers believe regular exercise can stave off cognitive decline.
- As an individual gets older, the nervous system degenerates and regular exercise can slow this. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and consider how to do things. Researchers believe that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Exercise could increase the production of neuroprotection factors. Your body has mechanisms that safeguard certain kinds of cells from harm. These protectors might be created at a higher level in individuals who get an abundance of exercise.
- Exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Nutrients and oxygen are carried to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Address Vision Problems
An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, revealed that getting cataract surgery halved the occurrence of mental decline in the group who had them extracted.
Preserving healthy eyesight is important for mental health in general even though this research only concentrated on one common cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to seclude themselves from friends and withdraw from activities they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The connection between dementia and social separation is the subject of other studies.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the advancement of dementia if you do what you can to preserve healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be heading towards cognitive decline if you have untreated hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They used the same methods to test for the advance of mental decline.
They got even more remarkable results. The group who got the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decrease by 75%. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they might have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some probable reasons for this.
The social aspect is the first thing. People tend to go into seclusion when they have untreated hearing loss because interacting with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a struggle.
Additionally, a person gradually forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this deterioration progresses into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, used an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with neglected hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. People who have neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
Obviously, your mental capability and memory are going to begin to slip under these circumstances.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave 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.