Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would after retirement. At 68, she’s now been to more than 12 countries and has many more to go. On any given day, you may find her out on the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Susan always has something new to do or see. But at times, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how cognitive decline or dementia could completely change her life.
Her mother exhibited first signs of dementia when she was about Susan’s age. Over a period of 15 years, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her unconditionally struggled with what seemed to be simple tasks. She forgets random things. At some point, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully avoid what her mother went through. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been found to delay cognitive decline and dementia?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. Here are only three.
1. Exercise Regularly
Susan found out that she’s already on the right track. Each day she attempts to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
People who do moderate exercise every day have a decreased risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. This same research shows that people who are already dealing with some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from regular exercise.
Here are a number of reasons why scientists believe consistent exercise can ward off mental 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 think about how to do things. Researchers think that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Exercise could enhance the production of neuroprotection factors. There are mechanisms within your body that safeguard some cells from harm. These protectors may be produced at a higher rate in individuals who get an abundance of exercise.
- Exercise decreases the danger of cardiovascular disease. Oxygen and nutrients are carried to the brain by blood. If cardiovascular disease blocks this blood flow, cells die. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Have Vision Concerns Treated
The rate of cognitive decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study conducted on 2000 people.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is important for mental health in general even though this study only concentrated on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People often begin to seclude themselves from friends and retreat from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have examined links between social isolation and advancing dementia.
If you have cataracts, don’t just disregard them. If you can take steps to improve your vision, you’ll also be protecting yourself against the progression of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you might be on your way into cognitive decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that conducted the cataract study. They used the same techniques to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
The results were even more impressive. The group who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decline by 75%. So the dementia symptoms they were already noticing simply stopped.
There are some probable reasons for this.
The social aspect is the first thing. People who have neglected hearing loss often socially seclude themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social clubs and events.
Additionally, a person gradually forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. If the individual waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration advances into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, utilized an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with neglected hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. People with neglected hearing loss actually have shrinking of the brain.
Clearly, your mental capability and memory are going to start to falter under these conditions.
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 how you can hear better with today’s technological advancements in hearing aids.