Photo by DS Stories at PexelsCognitive decline is often thought to be a natural component of aging. However, there are some behaviors and habits that could not only delay the onset of cerebral deterioration, but could also help prevent it if implemented early enough. In this article we will explore such practices and strategies as well as insights from several prominent studies on how to support cognitive function in elderly people.
The Power of Hobbies
Studies have shown that people who keep up with their hobbies, especially those involving music, are less likely to see a decline in their cerebral ability. Indeed, the research has shown that older adults taking part in choir singing had better cognitive flexibility than those who didn’t practice or participate in any musical hobby.
Researchers therefore theorize that this is due to choir singing requiring versatile information processing, with a combination of different sensory and motor stimuli involved to perform the activity. Memorizing stanzas, measures, and techniques in addition to remembering lyrics and delivering via singing aloud actually takes a lot of brain power! This implies that undertaking any activity that is multi-sensorial, such as singing, may have the same beneficial effect on our aging brains.
Social Interactions Can Help
With the pandemic, many people found themselves isolated from the outside world. Seniors in particular were more significantly affected by loneliness than any other demographic for obvious reasons. In fact, many of them see a decline in their cognitive functions during this period of time, suggesting that isolation and lack of social interactions may help the brain stay active. Likewise, studies have shown that elderly people who had someone they could count on or that could listen to them also helped slow down their cognitive decline.
Therefore, maintaining social interactions through family, friends, or by joining a senior’s club may help people delay the onset of neuropathological changes, such as Alzheimer and dementia. So give your friends and family members a call, take a trip down memory lane, and keep your brain limber as you move into your golden years.
Food to Feed Your Brain
Studies found that optimal levels of DHA, the main Omega-3 fatty acid in our brain, can also help improve memory and prevent the development of Alzheimer and dementia. DHA can easily be taken as a supplement, but it can also be obtained from food sources as it is found abundantly in oily fish like salmon or sardines. Delicious and nutritious!
It was also found that consuming at least three servings of whole grains, green leafy vegetables, mushrooms, berries and nuts daily were associated with beneficial effects on memory and thinking skills. A little food for thought!
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Check Your Hearing
Photo by Ketut Subiyanto at Pexels
Researchers found that hearing loss can lead to cognitive decline due to reduced information intake and processing from our brain. That means turn down your TVs, unplug your earbuds once in a while, and try your best to enjoy some peace and quiet.
Moreover, if you do already suffer from hearing loss, be sure to visit the ear doctor regularly, who can help you keep your ears clean, healthy, and you can also calibrate your hearing aid need be. All told, keeping your ears (which are quite close to your brain) healthy and clean will help you support your cerebral function while the clock ticks day after day.
Yet Another Reason to ExerciseIt’s already established that keeping active helps both our body and our mind. However, studies found that aerobic exercise was linked to higher memory markers and improved cognitive function in older adults. What can’t diet and exercise cure!? Ideas for staying active and fit in your senior years include low impact activities like going for walks, swimming, and cycling. If you’re feeling really ambitious, head on over to your local sports club or gymnasium to become part of group exercise classes or take on individual sessions with a personal trainer who can focus on your individual needs. All told, physical fitness is an important part of healthy aging and a great way to stay limber in body and mind!
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