Susan always knew that after she retired she would be living the active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now visited over 12 countries and has lots more to go. On any given day, you might find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan is all about. But occasionally, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how dementia or cognitive decline could completely change her life.
When Susan’s mother was about her age she began exhibiting the first signs of mental decline. Over a period of 15 years, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her without condition struggled with seemingly simple tasks. She’s becoming forgetful. Eventually, she could only recognize Susan on a good day.
Having experienced what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to stay healthy, eating a balanced diet and exercising. But she wonders, is she doing enough? Are there established ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things that can be done to prevent cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Get Exercise
Susan learned that she’s already on the right track. Every day she attempts to get at least the suggested amount of exercise.
Lots of research supports the fact that people who do modest exercise consistently as they get older have a reduced risk for mental decline and dementia. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already noticing symptoms of cognitive decline.
Here are a number of reasons why scientists believe regular exercise can ward off cognitive decline.
- Exercise decreases the deterioration of the nervous system that normally 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 scientists believe that it could also slow cognitive decline.
- Exercise could increase the production of neuroprotection factors. Your body has mechanisms that safeguard certain kinds of cells from harm. Scientists think that an individual who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
- Exercise lowers the danger of cardiovascular disease. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease stops this blood flow, cells die. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise might be able to slow down dementia.
2. Have Vision Concerns Treated
The occurrence of mental decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 subjects.
Preserving healthy eyesight is essential for cognitive health in general even though this research only focused on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
Losing eyesight at an older age can cause a person to retreat from their circle of friends and quit doing things they love. Additional studies have investigated links between social isolation and advancing dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. If you can take steps to sharpen your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the progression of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have untreated hearing loss, you could be on your way into mental decline. The same researchers from the cataract research gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the advancement of mental decline in the same way.
They got even more impressive results. Mental decline was reduced by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
This has some probable reasons.
The social element is the first thing. People tend to go into isolation when they have untreated hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.
Also, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. The degeneration gradually affects other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
As a matter of fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with neglected hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. The brain actually shrinks in people with neglected hearing loss.
Obviously, your mental ability and memory are going to begin to falter under these conditions.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave off dementia. If you’re putting off on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to call us for a hearing assessment. Find out how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.