Susan is living the active lifestyle she always thought she would in retirement. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to more than a dozen countries and is planning a lot more trips. On any given day, you might find her out on the lake, discovering 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 worry about how dementia or cognitive decline could completely change her life.
Her mother displayed first signs of dementia when she was about Susan’s age. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with everyday tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. There eventually came a time when she frequently couldn’t identify Susan anymore.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully prevent what her mother went through. But she wonders, is this enough? Are there proven ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to stave off cognitive decline. Here are just three.
1. Exercise Regularly
This one was already part of Susan’s daily life. Every day she attempts to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.
People who do moderate exercise daily have a reduced risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. This same research shows that individuals who are already dealing with some form of mental decline also have a positive effect from regular exercise.
Here are numerous reasons why scientists believe consistent exercise can ward off cognitive decline.
- As a person gets older, the nervous system deteriorates and consistent exercise can slow this. Without these nerves, the brain won’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or think about how to do things. Researchers think that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms within your body that protect some cells from harm. These protectors might be produced at a higher level in people who get enough exercise.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Nutrients and oxygen are carried to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease blocks this flow of blood. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Have Vision Concerns Treated
An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, showed that getting cataract surgery halved the rate of mental decline in the group who had them extracted.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is essential 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 withdraw from activities they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between dementia and social separation is the focus of other studies.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. If you can take measures to sharpen your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the progression of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be going towards cognitive decline if you have neglected hearing loss. The same researchers in the cataract study gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the progression of cognitive decline in the same way.
They got even more remarkable results. The individuals who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decline by 75%. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some probable reasons for this.
The social component is the first thing. Individuals who have neglected hearing loss often socially seclude themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social clubs and events.
Also, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. The deterioration gradually impacts other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
Researchers have, in fact, used an MRI to compare the brains of individuals with untreated hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. People who have neglected hearing loss actually have shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
Stave off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you have hearing loss and are hesitant to get hearing aids, it’s time to make an appointment with us. Learn about today’s technologically sophisticated designs that help you hear better.