Susan always knew that when she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over a dozen countries and is planning a lot more trips. On any given day, you may find her out on the lake, tackling a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Susan always has something new to do or see. But occasionally, Susan can’t help but worry about how cognitive decline or dementia could totally change her life.
When Susan’s mother was about her age she started exhibiting the first signs of cognitive decline. 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. 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 prevent what her mother experienced. But she isn’t sure that will be enough. Are there proven ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
The good news is, it is possible to stave off cognitive decline by doing a few things. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Everyday
Susan found out that she’s already going in the right direction. She does try to get the suggested amount of exercise each day.
Many studies support the fact that people who do modest exercise consistently as they age have a decreased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. These same studies show that individuals who are already experiencing some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from consistent exercise.
Here are a number of reasons why researchers think consistent exercise can stave off cognitive decline.
- Exercise slows the deterioration of the nervous system that commonly happens as a person ages. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and consider how to do things. Scientists believe that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be increased with exercise. There are mechanisms in your body that protect some cells from harm. Scientists think that an individual who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is reduced by exercising. Nutrients and oxygen are transported to the brain by blood. If cardiovascular disease blocks this blood flow, cells die. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise might be able to delay dementia.
2. Address Vision Concerns
The rate of cognitive decline was cut almost in half in individuals who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
While this research focused on one prevalent cause for loss of eyesight, this study supports the fact that maintaining eyesight as you get older is important for your mental health.
People often begin to isolate themselves from friends and withdraw from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between cognitive decline and social separation is the subject of other studies.
Having cataracts treated is crucial. If you can take measures to improve 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 untreated hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that conducted the cataract research. They used the same methods to test for the progression of cognitive decline.
They got even more impressive results. The individuals who received the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decrease by 75%. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
This has some probable reasons.
First is the social component. Individuals who are dealing with neglected hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Second, when a person gradually starts to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. If the individual waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration advances into other parts of the brain.
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 neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
Obviously, your mental capability and memory are going to start to falter under these conditions.
If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave off dementia. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to call us for a hearing examination. Learn about today’s technologically sophisticated designs that help you hear better.