Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These as well as other impacts of cognitive decline make life challenging for seniors and those who care for them, and may result from:
- Health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, as well as others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle choices
- And more
However, it is important to understand that aging in and of itself does have to equal an inevitable lessening of our memory and ability to clearly think and learn new things. There are steps we should all take to safeguard against cognitive impairment, including:
- Start (and remain) moving. Regular exercise, specifically aerobic exercise, has been linked to a marked improvement in the brain’s ability to make new network connections in addition to maintaining older ones – an essential element of cognitive health. Not only that, but the actual dimensions of the brain structure linked to learning and memory increase in those who are physically active, helping to maximize spatial memory functioning. The most common recommendation is to strive for thirty minutes on most days of physical exercise, but make sure to talk with the physician before beginning or changing any fitness program.
- Exercise your brain, too. Keeping your brain active and engaged has been shown to establish cognitive reserve within the brain, allowing for compensation for certain brain changes linked to aging or other conditions. In one recent study, those who engaged in meaningful, intellectually-stimulating activities achieved greater memory improvement compared to those who did not. Good choices to help keep the brain active include playing games, reading, learning new skills or hobbies, and volunteering or working.
- Connect with other people. A number of research studies document the damaging impact of social isolation on both physical and emotional health. Remaining socially connected to family, friends, and also the community at large is vital for older adults. By keeping the brain active and engaged, the chance for health complications such as depression is lowered. When in-person get-togethers are not possible, use technology (for example, FaceTime, Skype and Zoom) to socialize, and interact with others through social media or simply just through good, old-fashioned card and letter writing.
For the most trusted Bristol adult care services, turn to Live Free Home Health Care. We can help senior loved ones maximize cognitive functioning and general 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 enhance socialization and take part in mentally-stimulating games and puzzles, conversations, exercising together, learning new skills and trying new hobbies together, and so much more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry chores, allowing older adults and their loved ones to spend high quality time together
- And much more
Connect with our compassionate Bristol adult care services team at 603-217-0149 for more information on how we can help the senior loved ones in your life, and to request a free in-home consultation. For more information on the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.