Many of us have experienced moments of forgetfulness. Whether that’s losing our train of thought or having difficulty remembering where the car keys are, forgetfulness happens. However, as we age, increasing forgetfulness can be a sign of cognitive decline. This can take a toll on one's day-to-day life, as well as quality of life.
What is Cognitive Decline?
Cognitive decline is when older adults have trouble with their memory, concentration, or other brain functions. This impairment can come on quickly or happen over time. It can be troubling not only for the person experiencing the symptoms but also for their loved ones. Symptoms include forgetfulness, feeling overwhelmed when making decisions, having trouble navigating familiar environments, making impulsive decisions due to poor judgment, and more.
While cognitive decline is attributed to aging, there are ways to help avoid cognitive decline.
5 Tips to Help Avoid Cognitive Decline
#1: Participate in Physical Activity
Exercise is one of the best tools to stay physically and mentally healthy. According to Harvard Health Publishing, studies have shown that participating in regular exercise has improved the cognitive function of people who already suffered from memory problems. Exercise is proven to stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain network connections and create new ones; furthermore, both are vital to overall brain health. Some exercises that seniors can participate in include chair yoga, water aerobics, and walking.
#2: Eat Healthy
It's been recommended that seniors follow a "Mediterranean diet" that focuses on consuming fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains, eating fish instead of red meat, and limiting sweets. This diet is shown to support cognitive health, and even slow the progression of dementia in people who have the condition.
#3: Engage in Social Activity
Participating in social activity is proven to reduce the risks of loneliness, depression, anxiety, and cognitive decline. From joining a book club to visiting with friends over a meal, staying social is one of the keys to staying healthy.
#4: Get Plenty of Restful Sleep
It's no surprise that sleep is one of the ways to avoid cognitive decline. A good night’s sleep does more than just leaving you feeling well-rested. Our bodies rely on getting consistent, good-quality sleep to perform essential functions. Those who receive the recommended 7-8 hours of sleep a night are shown to be overall healthier than those who don't sleep well.
#5: Stimulate the Mind
Keeping the mind sharp can lower the risk of cognitive decline. Stimulating the mind can be anything from playing card games, doing crossword puzzles, reading a book, taking classes, or playing music. All of these activities are proven to be mentally stimulating experiences that help ward off symptoms of cognitive decline, such as forgetfulness.
By following these five tips to avoid cognitive decline, seniors can also achieve better overall health. Luckily, our senior facility has the tools and resources to help seniors follow these tips, and reduce the risks of cognitive decline.