One of the most significant changes people face as they age is a decline in brain health. Diseases like Alzheimer’s and cognitive decline related to physical, chemical, or hormonal changes can exact a serious toll on our ability to remember, perform routine activities, and even care for ourselves as we get older. However, many of us don’t take brain health seriously enough.
According to data collected by The American Society on Aging only 3% of Americans consider brain health as the most important health issue facing them. Only 37% ever voice concerns about memory and mental faculties to a doctor or nurse.
Why don’t seniors take ask for help more often?
Many believe that improving brain health is difficult or (perhaps even more frightening) may be impossible. Genetics and other drivers beyond an individual’s control (such as the environment in which they worked) do play an important role in shaping a person’s overall brain health as they age. But they’re not the only factors.
Activities Bad for Brain Health
There are a number of activities you engage in everyday that can dramatically decrease your brain health over time. These include:
Eating a Poor Quality Diet
Improperly Caring for Existing Conditions (Heart Disease, Diabetes, etc.)
Not Getting Enough Sleep
Lack of Physical Activity
Not Engaging with Others Socially
Unfortunately, seniors fall easy prey to many of these bad habits often suffering from “contributing factors” like sleep apnea, depression, reduced income, and decreased mobility.
Turn Back the Tide – Boost Your Brain Healthy Naturally
The Administration for Community Living (a division of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services) lists improved diet, increased exercise, and social engagement as three of the most important things people can do to increase mental acuity and stave off the degenerative effects of aging. So eat better, go for an afternoon stroll, and stay in touch with family, friends, and neighbors on a regular basis. In addition, brain-strengthening exercises like trivia games, puzzles, reading, or actively learning new facts and/or skills have also been shown to have beneficial effects. So keep that brain working for you!
Brain Health Resources Online
The Administration for Community Living has a host of resources available for individuals and caregivers. In addition, the partial list of websites below is a great place to start.
Your Local Area Agency on Aging (you can find yours here)
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