Susan is living the active lifestyle she always knew she would in retirement. At 68, she’s now been to over a dozen countries and has lots more on her list. On any given day, you may find her enjoying the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.
Susan always has something new to see or do. But in the back of her mind, Susan is concerned that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.
When Susan’s mother was about her age she started to show the first signs of mental decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always respected and loved, struggle more and more with day-to-day tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. At some point, she could only identify Susan on a good day.
Susan has tried to eat a healthy diet and exercise so she could hopefully prevent what her mother went through. But she isn’t sure that will be enough. Are there established ways to delay dementia or cognitive decline?
Thankfully, there are things you can do to prevent cognitive decline. Three of them are listed here.
1. Exercise Everyday
This one was already part of Susan’s daily life. She does try to get the recommended amount of exercise each day.
Many studies support the fact that people who do moderate exercise consistently as they get older have a decreased risk for cognitive decline and dementia. They’ve also had a positive effect on people who are already noticing symptoms of cognitive decline.
Scientists believe that exercise may ward off cognitive decline for several really important reasons.
- As a person ages, the nervous system deteriorates and consistent 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. Researchers think that because exercise slows this breakdown, it also slows mental decline.
- Neuroprtection factors may be enhanced with exercise. Your body has functions that protect certain kinds of cells from damage. These protectors may be created at a higher rate in people who get enough exercise.
- Exercise lowers the danger of cardiovascular disease. Blood brings oxygen and nutrients to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this flow of blood. Exercise may be able to delay dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.
2. Treat Vision Concerns
The occurrence of mental decline was cut nearly in half in individuals who had their cataracts extracted according to an 18-year study carried out on 2000 people.
Preserving healthy eyesight is important for mental health in general even though this study only concentrated on one prevalent cause of eyesight loss.
People frequently begin to seclude themselves from friends and withdraw from activities they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. The link between cognitive decline and social isolation is the focus of other studies.
Having cataracts treated is crucial. If you can take steps to sharpen your vision, you’ll also be safeguarding yourself against the progression of dementia.
3. Get Hearing Aids
If you have neglected hearing loss, you might be on your way into cognitive decline. 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 advance of mental decline.
They got even more remarkable results. The individuals who received the hearing aids saw their dementia progression rates decline by 75%. In other words, whatever existing dementia they may have currently had was almost completely stopped in its tracks.
There are some likely reasons for this.
First is the social element. Individuals who have neglected hearing loss tend to socially seclude themselves because they have a hard time interacting with their friends at social clubs and events.
Second, when someone slowly begins to lose their hearing, the brain forgets how to hear. If the person waits years to get a hearing aid, this degeneration progresses into other parts of the brain.
Researchers have, in fact, utilized an MRI to compare the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to people who use a hearing aid. People who have neglected hearing loss actually experience shrinking of the brain.
That’s definitely not good for your memory and mental capabilities.
Ward off dementia by wearing your hearing aids if you have them. 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.