Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These and other impacts of cognitive decline make life challenging for seniors and those who care for them, and can result from:
- Health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle choices
- And much more
Nonetheless, it’s essential to realize that aging in and of itself does not have to equal an inevitable lessening of one’s memory and capacity to clearly think and learn new things. There are actually steps we should all take to maintain and gain cognitive improvement, including:
- Start (and remain) moving. Physical activity, especially cardio workouts, have been connected to an improvement in the brain’s ability to produce new network connections as well as maintain older ones – an essential component of cognitive health. Not just that, but the actual size of the brain structure associated with learning and memory increases in individuals who are physically active, helping to maximize spatial memory functioning. The typical recommendation is to aim for thirty minutes on most days of physical activity, but be sure to check with the doctor before beginning or changing any exercise routine.
- Exercise your mind, too. Keeping the mind active and engaged has been shown to establish cognitive reserve within the brain, allowing for compensation for certain brain changes associated with aging or other conditions. In one recent study, people who engaged in meaningful, intellectually-stimulating activities attained greater cognitive improvement than those who did not. Good choices to help keep the mind active include reading, playing games, learning new hobbies or skills, and volunteering or working.
- Connect with other people. A number of scientific studies document the damaging effect of social isolation on both emotional and physical health. Staying socially connected to friends, family, and the community as a whole is crucial for the elderly. By keeping the brain engaged and active, the danger for health complications such as depression are reduced. When in-person get-togethers aren’t possible, utilize technology (such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime) to socialize, and communicate with others through social media or just through good, old-fashioned card and letter writing.
Morning Glory Home Care, a top-rated Highland care agency, can help older adults maximize cognitive functioning and overall health and wellbeing through individualized in-home care services that can include:
- Providing transportation to outings, the gym, exercise classes, medical appointments, and more
- Preparing wholesome meals
- Companionship to boost socialization and take part in mentally-stimulating puzzles and games, conversations, exercising together, learning new skills and trying new hobbies together, and so much more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry chores, allowing seniors and their loved ones to spend good quality time together
- And many others
Connect with our Highland aging care team at 618-667-8400 to learn more about how we can assist the senior loved ones in your life, and to request a free in-home consultation. To learn about our full service area, visit our Service Area page.