6 Ways Seniors Can Keep Their Brains Healthy
The aging process can impact brain health. However, that doesn't mean seniors are powerless against age-related changes in brain function (also known as cognitive decline). Scientists believe seniors can take proactive steps to maintain their thinking power. You can help loved ones keep their brains healthy by encouraging these best practices.
1. Learning New Skills
Improved memory and thinking are the potential benefits of learning new skills. In a study, participants aged 60 years and older had better memory after three months of learning how to quilt, do digital photography, or both. Seniors who cannot attend in-person classes can still keep their brains healthy through online courses, which are often free of charge.
2. Keeping the Mind Active
Just as the body needs physical activity to stay healthy, the brain also needs challenging activities to maintain its health. Reading, writing in a journal, completing crosswords, putting together jigsaw puzzles, playing chess, or enjoying a favorite hobby are a few ways seniors can put their minds to work. Teaching others also keeps brains healthy. Homebound seniors can teach skills to a grandchild or caregiver. You may want to let your loved ones know that passive activities like watching TV don't boost brain health.
3. Staying Connected With Others
It's important to have social contact with others. Scientists believe loneliness is closely connected to cognitive decline. Regular phone calls with your loved one can help, but in-person contact is also necessary. If you're not able to visit your loved one often, a home caregiver can offer the companionship needed.
4. Eating Well
Diets rich in fruits, vegetables, lean protein, healthy fats, and whole grains promote brain health. The Mediterranean diet, the DASH diet, and the MIND diet have been linked to a lower risk of cognitive decline. It's always a good idea to consult your loved one's primary care physician before making drastic dietary changes.
5. Drinking Enough Water
Water is a main component of the brain, so staying hydrated is a must. Since our sense of thirst decreases with age, seniors often don't drink enough water. Also, many older adults find it difficult to drink an eight-ounce glass of water in one sitting. Your loved ones may need a reminder to sip water throughout the day to keep their brains healthy and hydrated.
6. Getting Exercise
Regular physical activity has been linked to brain benefits such as improvements in memory and brain cell connections. Exercise is also associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's disease.
However, aerobic exercises like walking and swimming appear to be better for keeping brains healthy than anaerobic exercises. Seniors should speak to their physician before starting an exercise program.
Live-In Home Care for the Greater Westford Area
If you have other responsibilities and live far away, it can be challenging to support your loved ones' efforts to keep their brains healthy. A home caregiver is an ideal solution. Senior Helpers of Westford has professional caregivers who can encourage your loved one to engage in brain-healthy behaviors. They also offer personal care and provide companionship for seniors in ACton, Concord, and the surrounding areas. For more information about our care and our areas of service, contact us today.