Susan is living the active lifestyle she always thought she would in retirement. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over 12 countries and is planning many more trips. On any given day, you might find her enjoying the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandchildren, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Seeing and doing new things is what Susan’s all about. 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 mental decline. Over a 15 year period, 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 recognize 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 isn’t sure that will be enough. Are there proven ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Luckily, there are things you can do to stave off cognitive decline. Here are just three.
1. Get Exercise
Susan discovered that she’s already going in the right direction. Each day she tries to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
Many studies support the fact that people who do moderate exercise regularly as they get older have a decreased risk for mental decline and dementia. These same studies show that people who are already experiencing some form of mental decline also have a positive impact from consistent exercise.
Here are a number of reasons why scientists think consistent exercise can ward off mental decline.
- As a person gets older, the nervous system deteriorates and consistent exercise can slow this. The brain needs these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and think about how to do things. Researchers believe that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows cognitive decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. Your body has functions that protect certain kinds of cells from damage. Scientists believe that a person who exercises might produce more of these protectors.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Oxygen and nutrients are transported to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease obstructs this flow of blood. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise may be able to delay dementia.
2. Treat Vision Concerns
The rate of mental decline was cut almost in half in people who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is crucial for mental health in general even though this research only concentrated on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People often begin to seclude themselves from friends and withdraw from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have examined connections between social separation and advancing dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is crucial. 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 neglected hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They tested the progression of cognitive decline in the same way.
The results were even more remarkable. The people who got the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decline by 75%. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
There are some probable reasons for this.
The social component is the first thing. People will often go into isolation when they have untreated hearing loss because interacting with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.
Additionally, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. If the individual waits years to get a hearing aid, this deterioration advances into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, used an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with untreated hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. The brain actually shrinks in individuals with neglected hearing loss.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental abilities.
Stave off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing assessment. Learn about today’s technologically advanced designs that help you hear better.