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7 Ways to Protect Yourself Against Cognitive Decline in the Old Age

The CDC estimates over 400 million Americans will suffer from dementia by 2060. Americans need to lower that estimate. Cognitive decline is a part of the normal aging process. However, there are some habits that decrease the amount of decline. Here are some examples.

Be Proactive

Start investigating tools that stave off cognitive decline. The internet is a great resource for obtaining information. There are always new studies and treatments aimed at preventing dementia. For instance, research the work done by Klotho Therapeutics. The company develops therapies and medicines aimed at slowing the aging process.

Exercise

A University of Washington study finds that older adults with mild cognitive impairment benefit from exercise. Meanwhile, a second study indicates exercise enlarges the hippocampus. The hippocampus and cerebellum have the highest rate of neurogenesis in the brain. The brain regenerates itself during neurogenesis. Adults need 2.5 to 5 hours of medium intensity aerobic exercise per week.

Try Video Games

Do you believe video games improve cognitive functioning? Indeed, video games reverse cognitive decline associated with aging. It’s not hard to believe because one has to think fast and react quickly in a game. A recent study was centered around a 3-D video game designed to improve cognitive function. The results showed that, after training, older adults played better than 20 to 30 year-olds.

Other Mental Stimulation

Researchers want Americans to stay mentally active as they age. They want people to use computers, play board games, and write letters. These activities stimulate the mind and improve memory. Other suggestions include doing crossword puzzles and listening to music. Brain-stimulating activities cut the chances of having mild cognitive impairment in half.

Diet

Cognitive decline can be caused by environmental factors including a lack of proper nutrition. That’s why a lot of studies are aimed at finding foods that slow cognitive decline. Research shows that heart-healthy diets maintain cognition. A couple of examples are the Mediterranean Diet and the DASH Diet. The Mediterranean Diet focuses on eating fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, and olive oil. In addition, the diet limits red meat. However, moderate amounts of fish, poultry, and dairy products are suggested. The Mediterranean DASH Diet was designed for those with hypertension. DASH is similar to the original Mediterranean diet except one must limit sodium and sugar.

Don’t be a Hermit

Many older Americans don’t like going out. They have mobility issues and may not drive. Nonetheless, social contact is just as important as a healthy diet. Keeping in touch with friends and family protects cognitive function. Loneliness can cause depression and lead to cognitive declines. Further, social activities make the elderly exercise cognitive functions such as memory and attention. This is one reason assisted living facilities are popular. The elderly have privacy and social outlets.

Have a Drink

A recent study found that one alcoholic beverage a day slows cognitive decline. Likewise, another study shows that a red wine by-product, resveratrol, breaks down protein deposits that cause Alzheimer’s Disease. Studies are ongoing into the benefits of red wine for cognitive function.

Cognitive decline is a natural part of the aging process. But, there are ways to slow the decline. It’s important to get proper nutrition and exercise regularly. Moreover, the mind needs to be stimulated with activities and social interaction.