As you get older, you may notice some changes in your thinking. Maybe you often forget where you kept your phone or have trouble thinking about the right word during conversations. Some of these problems may be normal, but some may point to a health issue like dementia.
A memory lapse can occur at any age; however, aging does not cause cognitive decline. When aging people lose their memory, it does not mean that they are old, but it happens because of organic disorders, injury in the brain, and neurological conditions. Staying mentally active will keep your brain engaged and reduce cognitive decline. It is possible to maintain your focus in your old age still.
Eating Healthy Foods
A healthy diet is a key to reducing various chronic illnesses—heart disease and diabetes. A healthy diet can also play a key role in keeping your brain healthy. Healthy diets usually contain fruits, vegetables, whole grains, and animal proteins in moderation. As you age, limit the intake of solid fats, sugars, and salt. You should also portion your food sizes and consume enough liquids. Studies have proved that a healthy diet can help you preserve cognitive function and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s.
Being Physically Active
As you age, you can still be physically active through regular exercise, walking around the neighborhood, household tasks, among other activities. When you are physically active, you can keep your strength, improve it, have more energy to work on your projects, improve balance, and reduce depression.
Some studies also show that physical exercise can be linked to advantages for your brain and cognition. Remember that accidents may occur during exercise. Therefore, you may need to take extra caution to avoid getting injured. Serious bruises, injuries, and cuts may need skin glue to fix. However, ensure that you visit the doctor in case this happens.
Quitting Smoking and Excessive Drinking
Smoking and excessive drinking put you at significant risk of dementia. If you are a smoker, you should quit and take alcohol in moderation.
Stimulating your Brain
There are many activities that you can undertake to stimulate your brain and help you build cognitive reserve. One way to keep your mind active is by learning new skills even later in life. According to a study published in the American Journal of Geriatric Psychiatry, when you gain skills later in life, especially technology-related skills, you may reduce cognitive decline linked to aging.
If you have wanted to try out a new skill, then now is the best time so you can engage your brain and stimulate it. The more mentally active you are, the more your mind will stay engaged.
Networking and making new friends can be beneficial to your brain. As you make friends, you are involved in mind-stimulating conversations that will help you remember some things in your past and think of ways to respond. Being socially engaged reduces an older person’s risk of dementia.
You can connect with more people through social activities and community events, and it will help you feel less isolated and more engaged with others. When you take part in social activities, you reduce the risk of some health complications and improve your well-being.
It may be impossible to avoid stress; however, you need to develop ways to manage it. Short-term stress is not detrimental as it may stimulate your brain to think of ways to eliminate it faster. However, chronic stress can be a big problem because it changes the brain, affects your memory, and increases the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s. You can manage stress through regular exercise, journaling, doing relaxation techniques, and staying positive.
Getting Enough Sleep
Sleep is important for your health and well-being. During sleep, your body restores its energy levels and heals any physical or cognitive damage. To function at your best, you need to sleep for at least seven to nine hours. Some benefits associated with sleep include:
- Increases alertness when you are awake
- Enhances memory and attention span
- Reduces use of medication
- Reduces depression symptoms
- Improves cardiovascular health
- Reduces stress and anxiety
- Regulates appetite
- Reduces the risk of trips and falls
Age-related changes in your brain, injuries, addiction, illnesses such as Alzheimer’s, and many other factors can affect brain health. Although you cannot change some of these factors, you can make some lifestyle changes, such as eating a healthy diet, being physically active, managing stress, getting enough sleep, and stimulating your brain to see a difference. These good health habits will help you prevent cognitive decline while also reducing the risk of dementia.