Susan always recognized that after she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now visited more than 12 countries and has many more on her list. On any given day, you may find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandchildren, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
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 exhibiting the first signs of cognitive decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always loved and respected, struggle more and more with daily tasks over a 15 year period. She’s becoming forgetful. Eventually, she could only recognize 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 exercising. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Are there established ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to avert cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Everyday
This one was already part of Susan’s everyday life. She does try to get the appropriate amount of exercise each day.
People who do modest exercise daily have a reduced risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. This same research shows that people who are already coping with some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from regular exercise.
Researchers believe that exercise may stave off mental decline for a number of very important reasons.
- As a person 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. Scientists think that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors may be increased with exercise. Your body has mechanisms that safeguard certain kinds of cells from damage. These protectors might be produced at a higher level in individuals who get enough exercise.
- Exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease obstructs this blood flow. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Address Vision Problems
The rate 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 people.
Preserving healthy eyesight is crucial for cognitive health in general even though this study only concentrated on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between dementia and social isolation is the focus of other studies.
If you have cataracts, don’t just ignore them. 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 may be heading towards cognitive decline if you have untreated hearing loss. The same researchers in the cataract study gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They used the same techniques to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
The results were even more significant. The group who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decrease by 75%. Essentially, whatever existing dementia they might have currently had was almost completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some probable reasons for this.
First is the social aspect. People who have neglected hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social clubs and events.
Second, when a person slowly starts to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. If the individual waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration progresses into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, used an MRI to compare the brains of people with neglected hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. People who have neglected hearing loss actually have shrinking of the brain.
Clearly, your mental capability and memory are going to begin to slip under these circumstances.
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. Learn how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.