Susan always recognized that when she retired she would be living an 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 she can be found exploring a hiking trail with her grandchildren, on others she will be volunteering at a local soup kitchen, and sometimes you will see her out on the lake.
Susan always has something new to do or see. But occasionally, Susan can’t help but worry about how cognitive decline or dementia could really 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 cared for her and loved her without condition struggled with seemingly 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 attempted to remain healthy, eating a balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she wonders, is this enough? Is there anything else she can do that’s been found to slow cognitive decline and dementia?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to avert cognitive decline. Here are just three.
1. Get Exercise
This one was already part of Susan’s daily life. She does try to get the appropriate amount of exercise every day.
Individuals who do moderate exercise daily have a decreased risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. They’ve also shown a positive impact on people who are already experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline.
Here are numerous reasons why scientists believe consistent exercise can stave off mental decline.
- Exercise decreases the deterioration of the nervous system that commonly happens as we get older. Without these nerves, the brain won’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so researchers think that it could also slow mental decline.
- Exercise could enhance the production of neuroprotection factors. Your body has mechanisms that protect certain kinds of cells from harm. Scientists think 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 stops this flow of blood. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Have Vision Problems Treated
An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, demonstrated that getting cataract surgery halved the rate of mental decline in the group who had them removed.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is important for mental health in general even though this research only focused on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to seclude themselves from friends and withdraw from activities they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have investigated links between social separation and worsening dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is crucial. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the development of dementia if you do what you can to preserve healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have untreated hearing loss, you could be on your way into mental decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that conducted the cataract research. They tested the progression of cognitive decline in the same way.
The results were even more remarkable. Cognitive decline was decreased by 75% in the participants who received hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
This has some likely reasons.
First is the social element. People tend to go into seclusion when they have untreated hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a struggle.
Additionally, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they start 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 untreated hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. The brain actually shrinks in people with untreated hearing loss.
Clearly, your mental ability 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 hesitant to get hearing aids, it’s time to schedule a visit with us. Find out how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.