Susan always recognized that after she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. At 68, she’s now visited over a dozen countries and has lots more on her list. On any given day, you might find her out on the lake, discovering a new hiking trail with the grandchildren, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
Seeing and doing new things is what Susan is all about. But at times, Susan can’t help but worry about how cognitive decline or dementia could completely change her life.
When Susan’s mother was around her age she started exhibiting the first signs of mental decline. Over a period of 15 years, Susan watched as the woman who had always cared for her and loved her without condition struggled with what seemed to be simple tasks. She forgets random things. There eventually came a time when she often couldn’t identify Susan anymore.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully steer clear of what her mother went through. But she wonders, is this enough? Are there confirmed ways to delay 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
Susan discovered that she’s already on the right track. She does try to get the appropriate amount of exercise each day.
People who do modest exercise every day have a reduced risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive impact on people who are already experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline.
Scientists believe that exercise may ward off cognitive decline for several very important reasons.
- As a person gets older, the nervous system deteriorates and consistent exercise can slow this. Without these nerves, the brain doesn’t know how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Exercise slows this deterioration so scientists believe that it could also slow mental decline.
- Exercise could enhance the production of neuroprotection factors. There are mechanisms in your body that safeguard some cells from harm. These protectors might be produced at a higher level in people who get an abundance of exercise.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is decreased by exercising. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. If cardiovascular disease obstructs this blood flow, cells die. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Have Vision Problems Treated
The occurrence of cognitive decline was cut nearly in half in people who had their cataracts extracted according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
While this research focused on one common cause for eyesight loss, this study supports the fact that maintaining eyesight as you age is important for your mental health.
Losing eyesight at an older age can lead a person to disengage from their circle of friends and quit doing things they enjoy. The link between cognitive decline and social separation is the focus of other studies.
If you have cataracts, don’t just disregard them. If you can take measures to improve your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the advancement 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 study gave 2000 different participants who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They used the same methods to test for the advance of cognitive decline.
The results were even more significant. Mental decline was reduced by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they might have currently had was nearly completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some likely reasons for this.
The social component is the first thing. People who are dealing with neglected hearing loss tend to socially seclude themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Additionally, a person gradually forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. The deterioration progressively affects other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.
In fact, researchers have actually compared the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to people who wear hearing aids using an MRI. People with untreated hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental abilities.
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 make an appointment with us. Find out about today’s technologically advanced designs that help you hear better.