Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would after retirement. At 68, she’s now visited over a dozen countries and has lots more to go. On some days you’ll find her tackling a hiking trail with her grandkids, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out on the lake.
Susan always has something new to see or do. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
When Susan’s mother was around her age she started exhibiting the first signs of cognitive decline. Over a 15 year period, Susan watched as the woman who had always taken care of her and loved her unconditionally struggled with seemingly simple tasks. She started to become forgetful. There finally came a time when she frequently couldn’t identify Susan anymore.
Having experienced what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to stay healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she wonders, is this enough? Are there proven ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things that can be done to avert cognitive decline. Here are only three.
1. Get Exercise
This one was already part of Susan’s everyday life. Each day she attempts to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.
Individuals who do modest exercise daily have a reduced risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. They’ve also shown a positive effect on people who are already experiencing symptoms of mental decline.
Scientists believe that exercise might ward off mental decline for several very important reasons.
- As a person gets older, the nervous system deteriorates and regular exercise can slow this. Without these nerves, the brain won’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Scientists think that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms in your body that protect some cells from harm. Scientists believe that a person who exercises might produce more of these protectors.
- The risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Nutrients and oxygen are carried to the brain by blood. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease obstructs this flow of blood. By keeping the vessels and heart healthy, exercise may be able to slow down dementia.
2. Have Vision Concerns Treated
An 18-year study of 2000 individuals with cataracts, revealed that having cataract surgery halved the rate of mental decline in the group who had them removed.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is crucial for cognitive health in general even though this study only concentrated on one common cause of eyesight loss.
Eyesight loss at an older age can cause a person to withdraw from their circle of friends and quit doing things they love. Additional studies have explored links between social separation and advancing dementia.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. You’ll be safeguarding yourself against the development of dementia if you do what’s necessary to preserve healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You may be heading towards cognitive decline if you have neglected hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 people by the same researchers that carried out the cataract study. They used the same techniques to test for the progression of mental decline.
The results were even more remarkable. Mental decline was reduced by 75% in the people who were given hearing aids. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was almost completely stopped in its tracks.
This has some probable reasons.
The social element is the first thing. People tend to go into seclusion when they have untreated hearing loss because socializing with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a struggle.
Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they start 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 use hearing aids using an MRI. People with neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
Clearly, your mental ability 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 putting off on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to contact us for a hearing assessment. Learn about today’s technologically advanced designs that help you hear better.