Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These along with other impacts of cognitive decline make life challenging for older adults and those who care for them, and may result from:
- Health conditions such as cardiovascular disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle choices
- And much more
Nonetheless it is essential to realize that aging in and of itself does not have to equal an unavoidable lessening of our memory and ability to clearly think and learn new things. There are steps we can all take to protect and improve cognitive function, including:
- Start (and remain) moving. Physical exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has been connected to a marked improvement in the brain’s ability to create new network connections as well as maintain older ones – an essential component of cognitive health. Not just that, but the actual dimensions of the brain structure related to memory and learning are increased in people who are physically active, helping to optimize spatial memory functioning. The typical recommendation is to strive for thirty minutes on most days of physical exercise, but be sure to check with the doctor before starting or modifying any exercise program.
- Exercise your brain, too. Keeping the mind active and engaged is proven to establish cognitive reserve in 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 memory improvement compared to those who did not. Good choices to keep the mind active include playing games, reading, learning new hobbies or skills, and working or volunteering.
- Connect with others. A number of scientific studies report the negative impact of social isolation on both emotional and physical health. Staying socially connected with friends, family, and the community at large is extremely important for seniors. By keeping the brain active and engaged, the risk for health complications such as depression are reduced. When in-person get-togethers aren’t possible, use technology (for example, FaceTime, Skype and Zoom) to socialize, and communicate with others through social media or simply just through good, old-fashioned card and letter writing.
If you’re looking for trusted home care services, look no further than Hearts at Home In-Home Care. We help older adults increase cognitive function and overall health and wellbeing through personalized in-home care services that can include:
- Providing transportation to outings, the gym, medical appointments, exercise classes, and more
- Preparing wholesome meals
- Companionship to boost socialization and engage in mental-stimulating puzzles and games, conversations, exercising together, trying new hobbies and learning new skills together, and much more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry chores, allowing seniors and their loved ones to spend high quality time together
- And much more
For home care in Mission Hills or any of the surrounding communities, reach out to our caregiving team at 913-440-4209 for more information on how we can help the seniors in your life, and to request a complimentary in-home consultation. For a full list of all of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.