Susan always recognized that after she retired she would be living the active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now visited more than a dozen countries and has many more to go. On any given day, you may find her enjoying the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
Susan always has something new to do or see. But at times, Susan can’t help but be concerned about how dementia or cognitive decline could totally change her life.
Her mother exhibited first signs of dementia when she was around Susan’s age. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with daily tasks over a 15 year period. She’s becoming forgetful. At some point, she could only recognize Susan on a good day.
Susan has tried to eat a balanced diet and exercise so she could hopefully avoid what her mother went through. But she wonders, is this enough? Are there confirmed ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
Luckily, there are things that can be done to avert cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
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.
Many studies support the fact that people who do moderate exercise regularly as they age have a reduced risk for cognitive decline and dementia. This same research shows that people who are already coping with some form of mental decline also have a positive impact from regular exercise.
Here are a number of reasons why scientists believe consistent exercise can stave off mental decline.
- As an individual 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. Scientists think that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows mental decline.
- Exercise may increase the production of neuroprotection factors. There are mechanisms in your body that safeguard some cells from harm. Scientists believe that an individual who exercises might produce more of these protectors.
- Exercise decreases the danger of cardiovascular disease. Oxygen and nutrients are transported to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease blocks this flow of blood. Exercise might be able to slow down dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Address Vision Concerns
The occurrence of mental decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study conducted on 2000 subjects.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is essential for cognitive health in general even though this study only focused on one common cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to seclude themselves from friends and retreat from activities they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Additional studies have examined connections between social isolation and worsening dementia.
Having cataracts treated is essential. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the advancement of dementia if you do what you can to preserve healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you may be on your way into mental decline. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that performed the cataract study. They tested the progression of cognitive decline in the same manner.
They got even more remarkable results. The group who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decrease by 75%. So the dementia symptoms they were already experiencing simply stopped.
This has some probable reasons.
First is the social element. People tend to go into isolation when they have neglected hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.
Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. The deterioration 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 individuals with neglected hearing loss.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave 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 about today’s technologically advanced designs that help you hear better.