Susan always recognized that when she retired she would be living the active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now been to more than a dozen countries and has lots more to go. On some days you’ll find her investigating a hiking trail with her grandkids, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out on the lake.
Susan always has something new to see or do. But at times, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how cognitive decline or dementia could totally change her life.
Her mother displayed 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 started to become forgetful. Eventually, she could only recognize Susan on a good day.
Having experienced what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to stay healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she wonders, is this enough? Are there confirmed ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Luckily, there are things that can be done to prevent cognitive decline. Here are just three.
1. Exercise Everyday
This one was already part of Susan’s day-to-day life. She does try to get the suggested amount of exercise each day.
Many studies support the fact that people who do moderate exercise consistently as they age have a reduced risk for cognitive decline and dementia. This same research shows that individuals who are already experiencing some form of mental decline also have a positive impact from consistent exercise.
Here are numerous reasons why researchers think regular exercise can stave off mental decline.
- Exercise decreases the deterioration of the nervous system that typically happens as a person ages. Without these nerves, the brain won’t know how to process memories, communicate with the body, or think about how to do things. Researchers think that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows mental decline.
- Exercise could enhance the production of neuroprotection factors. There are mechanisms within your body that protect some cells from harm. Scientists believe that a person who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is decreased by exercising. Blood delivers oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to slow down dementia.
2. Treat Vision Problems
The rate of cognitive decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts extracted according to an 18-year study conducted on 2000 people.
Preserving healthy eyesight is crucial for cognitive health in general even though this research only concentrated on one common cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to isolate themselves from friends and retreat from activities they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have examined links between social isolation and advancing dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is crucial. If you can take measures to improve your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the advancement of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be heading 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 used the same techniques to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
The results were even more remarkable. Mental decline was decreased by 75% in the participants 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 element 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.
Second, when somebody gradually starts to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. The deterioration gradually affects 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 individuals with neglected hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. People with untreated hearing loss actually have 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’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing exam. Find out how you can hear better with today’s technological advancements in hearing aids.