Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These as well as other impacts from cognitive decline can make life challenging for older adults and people who care for them, and may be a consequence of:
- Health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, and others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle choices
- And more
Nonetheless, it is essential to understand that aging in and of itself doesn’t have to equal an unavoidable lessening of memory and the capacity to clearly think and learn new things. There are actually steps we can all take to protect and fortify cognitive health in older adults, such as:
- Start (and keep) moving. Physical exercise, specifically a cardio workout, has been associated with an improvement in the brain’s ability to make new network connections along with maintaining older ones – a key component of cognitive health. Not only that, but the actual size of the brain structure related to learning and memory increases in individuals who are physically active, helping to optimize spatial memory functioning. The typical recommendation is to strive for thirty minutes on most days of physical exercise, but be sure to talk with the physician before starting or changing any fitness program.
- Exercise your brain, too. Keeping your brain engaged and active is proven to establish cognitive reserve in the brain, allowing for compensation for certain brain changes linked to aging or other conditions. In one recent study, individuals who engaged in meaningful, intellectually-stimulating activities attained greater memory improvement than those who did not. Good choices to keep the brain active include reading, playing games, learning new hobbies or skills, and volunteering or working.
- Interact with others. A number of scientific studies report the damaging effect of social isolation on both physical and emotional health. Staying socially connected with family, friends, and the community as a whole is crucial for older adults. By keeping the brain engaged and active, the chance for health complications such as depression is lowered. When in-person get-togethers are not possible, use technology (for example, Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime) to socialize, and keep in touch with others through social media or simply just through good, old-fashioned letter and card writing.
Abby Senior Care, a provider of non-medical home care in Denver and the surrounding areas, can help older adults maximize cognitive functioning and general health and wellbeing through customized in-home care services that can include:
- Providing transportation to outings, the fitness center, medical appointments, exercise classes, and more
- Preparing nutritious meals
- Companionship to improve socialization and take part in mental-stimulating games and puzzles, conversations, exercising together, trying new hobbies and learning new skills together, and so much more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry chores, allowing seniors and their families to spend high quality time together
- And a whole lot more
Contact the leaders in providing non-medical home care in Denver at 303-699-8840 to learn more about how we can help the older adults in your life, and to request a complimentary in-home consultation. To learn about each of the communities we serve, visit our Service Area page.