Older adults are at an increased risk of developing dementia, which is a range of cognitive illnesses including Alzheimer’s disease. Some studies have shown that engaging in mentally stimulating or relaxing activities that promote cognitive health, such as socialization and meditation, can offset the start of dementia or even decrease the risk of developing dementia.
Most people know that eating right and staying active can lead to a healthy physical lifestyle, especially for seniors. However, some people may not know that there are things you can do to promote your cognitive health too.
Unlock the Fountain of Youth: Embracing Healthy Aging Involves Nurturing These Four Vital Pillars:
- Socialization – Stay Socially Active
- Mental Activities – Exercise for the Brain
- Relaxation – Allow the Brain to Rest & Recover
- Promote Cognitive Health with Physical Health
Socialization – Stay Socially Active
Not only can staying socially active boost your mood, but talking with others can lower stress, which is a factor that affects your risk of developing dementia. Additionally, studies have shown that regular social interaction can prevent or lessen existing symptoms due to depression.
Links have been made between a lack of socialization and atrophy of the brain, meaning those who tend to avoid socializing are at risk of losing certain functions of the brain. All humans need socialization to keep their brains healthy, and even those who have been diagnosed with dementia or a memory loss disorder can alleviate their symptoms with socializing. At Peconic Landing, there is a daily calendar of events and activities for Alzheimer’s patients.
Mental Activities – Exercise for the Brain
Mentally stimulating activities are like exercises for the brain, similar to typical exercises for physical health. When you engage in mental activities over and over again, you train your brain to become stronger and healthier, just like training muscles.
There are plenty of exercises you can perform for your brain, including puzzles, games, and reading. Generally, activities that engage or challenge you are much better than those that don’t, like watching television.
Learning a new hobby or skill is another great mental activity that you can try, such as learning a new language or how to play an instrument. You can also take a class, even as an older adult, to challenge yourself and strengthen your cognitive function.
Relaxation – Allow the Brain to Rest & Recover
Relaxing your brain is just as important as stimulating it since relaxation gives your brain a chance to recover and rebuild cells after exercising it. Sleep is especially important in preventing or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease because, during sleep, the brain removes beta-amyloid plaque, and the excess build-up of this plaque is a key part in the development of this disease.
Relaxing the brain and body both are important in reducing stress as well. Aside from sleep, you can relax your brain with meditation, which may involve breathing techniques that lower the body’s heart rate. Meditation can also improve your mood and prevent irritability, which can come with over-stimulating the brain.
Promote Cognitive Health with Physical Health
Unsurprisingly, mental and physical health have been shown to be interlinked, and healthy blood flow in the body is specifically beneficial for your cognitive health. To promote good blood flow, be sure to exercise physically at least 30 minutes daily with activities like walking, stretching, and even weightlifting.
Eating well can also promote healthy cell growth in the brain, and it has been proven that those who eat a diet high in plant-based foods and low in red meat and salt are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease. Healthy fats, like olive oil, are also good things to incorporate in your meals to promote brain health.
While you can’t always prevent the development of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, you may be able to slow the onset of these diseases by keeping your brain healthy and happy. If you are caring for someone with dementia who might need assistance long or short-term, Peconic Landing has an award-winning Memory Care center. Connect with us using the form below for details.