Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would in retirement. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to over 12 countries and is planning a lot more trips. On some days she can be found investigating a hiking trail with her grandchildren, on others she will be volunteering at a local hospital, and sometimes you will see her out enjoying the lake.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan is all about. But at times, Susan can’t help but worry about how dementia or cognitive decline could really change her life.
When Susan’s mother was about her age she began to show 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 what seemed to be simple tasks. She started to become forgetful. There finally came a time when she frequently couldn’t recognize Susan anymore.
Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always attempted to remain healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising. But she isn’t sure that will be enough. Are there confirmed ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?
Luckily, there are things you can do to prevent 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 suggested amount of exercise every day.
Individuals who do modest exercise daily have a reduced risk of mental decline according to many studies. They’ve also shown a positive impact on people who are already experiencing symptoms of mental decline.
Scientists believe that exercise may stave off mental decline for numerous very important reasons.
- Exercise decreases the degeneration of the nervous system that typically occurs as a person ages. Without these nerves, the brain doesn’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or think about how to do things. Researchers believe that because exercise slows this deterioration, it also slows mental decline.
- Exercise could increase the production of neuroprotection factors. There are mechanisms in your body that protect some cells from damage. Scientists think that a person who exercises might produce more of these protectors.
- Exercise lowers the risk of cardiovascular disease. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease obstructs this blood flow. By keeping the heart and vessels healthy, exercise might be able to slow down dementia.
2. Address Vision Concerns
An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, revealed that getting cataract surgery halved the rate of cognitive decline in the group who had them extracted.
While this study focused on one prevalent cause for eyesight loss, this study supports the fact that maintaining eyesight as you age is important for your mental health.
People often begin to seclude themselves from friends and retreat from things they enjoy when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between cognitive decline and social isolation is the focus of other studies.
Getting cataracts treated is essential. If you can take measures to improve your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the advancement of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
You might be heading towards cognitive decline if you have neglected hearing loss. A hearing aid was given to 2000 participants by the same researchers that conducted the cataract study. They used the same techniques to test for the progression of mental decline.
The results were even more remarkable. The individuals who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decrease by 75%. Put simply, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was almost completely stopped in its tracks.
This has some likely reasons.
The social aspect is the first thing. People who are dealing with untreated hearing loss tend to socially isolate themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Additionally, a person progressively forgets how to hear when they begin to lose their hearing. The deterioration gradually 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 neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
Obviously, your mental capability and memory are going to begin to falter under these conditions.
Stave off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you have hearing loss and are reluctant 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.