Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would in retirement. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to more than 12 countries and is planning a lot more trips. On any given day, you might find her enjoying the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandchildren, or volunteering at the local soup kitchen.
Doing and seeing new things is what Susan is all about. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
Her mother displayed 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 everyday tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. Eventually, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to remain healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and exercising. But she’s not sure that will be enough. Are there confirmed 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 learned that she’s already going in the right direction. She does try to get the appropriate amount of exercise each 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. These same studies show that people who are already experiencing some form of cognitive decline also have a positive impact from consistent exercise.
Here are numerous reasons why researchers believe regular exercise can stave off mental decline.
- As an individual ages, the nervous system degenerates and regular exercise can slow this. Without these nerves, the brain doesn’t understand how to process memories, communicate with the body, or consider how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so researchers think that it could also slow cognitive decline.
- Neuroprtection factors might be increased with exercise. Your body has functions that safeguard certain kinds of cells from harm. Scientists think that a person who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
- The danger of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Blood delivers nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease blocks this blood flow. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Address Vision Problems
The occurrence of cognitive decline was cut almost in half in people who had their cataracts removed according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 subjects.
Maintaining healthy eyesight is crucial for mental health in general even though this research only focused on one common cause of eyesight loss.
Eyesight loss at an older age can lead a person to withdraw from their circle of friends and quit doing things they enjoy. The link between dementia and social isolation is the subject of other studies.
If you have cataracts, don’t just disregard them. You’ll be protecting yourself against the advancement of dementia if you do what’s necessary to maintain healthy vision.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you might be on your way into mental decline. The same researchers in the cataract research gave 2000 different people who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the progression of mental decline in the same manner.
They got even more impressive results. The people who got the hearing aids saw their dementia advancement rates decrease by 75%. 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 untreated hearing loss tend to socially seclude themselves because they struggle to interact with their friends at social gatherings and events.
Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. 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 people with neglected hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. The brain actually shrinks in individuals with untreated hearing loss.
Clearly, your mental ability and memory are going to begin to slip under these circumstances.
Ward off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to call us for a hearing assessment. Find out how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.