As we age it is increasingly important to give our body the physical and mental advantages that set healthy aging in motion. We all know that making healthy food choices, exercising regularly and visiting our doctor can reduce our risk of serious physical health issues such as heart disease or diabetes. But did you know that it is just as important to follow steps to keep your brain in top shape?
Our brain’s volume gradually decreases as we get older, causing nerve cells to weaken. In addition, blood flow to the brain slows, causing lapses in memory and the loss of cognitive abilities. Acute memory loss, difficulty with language and speaking, and trouble reasoning may be a sign of age-related dementia.
At Bayshore Memory Care, we understand the nuances and importance of maintaining a healthy body and mind as you age. To keep the brain healthy, and to help protect against dementia, consider these five tips:
Get Your Heart Rate Up.
Recent studies performed at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign found that people who exercise on a regular basis have fitter brains, and that out-of-shape people who begin a workout regimen greatly improve their overall brain health. As we age, our brain cells, or neurons, lose their ability to connect, and these connections are integral for cognitive health. When we exercise, we increase blood supply to the brain and strengthen the development of neurons.
Learn a New Skill.
Have you always wanted to speak Italian or paint a portrait? As an older adult, the time is right to learn a new language or immerse yourself in a new, mentally challenging hobby. Reading, working on jigsaw puzzles with more than 500 pieces, Sudoku or crossword puzzles, and playing intellectually challenging board games like chess are easy ways to keep your mind sharp. Experts recommend doing something that exercises your brain on a daily basis.
Maintain a Healthy Diet.
When it comes to your brain’s health, what you eat matters. Diets high in fats and cholesterol have been linked to Alzheimer’s, and today doctors recommend seniors steer clear of fried foods and choose lean meats, dark leafy vegetables, and nuts instead. Consider adding omega-3 fatty acids, vitamins E, D and B12 and folate to your diet as well, either through a supplement or by eating foods rich in these nutrients. Note: Talk to your doctor before taking a supplement. Your doctor may perform tests for certain vitamin and mineral deficiencies and advise you on the recommended dosage.
It’s proven: The more we interact with friends and family, the better our likelihood of maintaining a healthy brain. A recent study in the journal Experimental Gerontology showed that strong relationships with loved ones helped keep aging brains young. Reach out to friends and family on a daily basis, schedule weekly lunches with loved ones, or volunteer at a local charity. Maintaining relationships is one of the most important components of healthy aging.
According to researchers at Harvard, disciplines including meditation, Tai Chi, and gentle yoga can improve brain health in older adults. In fact, even taking a vacation is great for the brain.
With just a few changes to your daily routine and diet, you can keep your brain strong and protect yourself against age-related dementia.
Bayshore Memory Care in Naples, Fla., is a state-of-the-art community designed solely for individuals with Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. We combine the best of new design, personalized and specialized services, and high-end amenities in a refreshingly elegant setting. Our Heartfelt Connections™ Memory Care Program is nationally recognized for offering people with Alzheimer’s disease, and other diseases that affect the mind, the care and resources they need to maintain physical and emotional well-being and a high quality of life.
The next generation in senior living memory care is right here in Naples—it’s a beautiful place to live. For more information regarding the services offered at Bayshore, visit our Contact Us page, or call 239-213-9370.