Steps To Reduce Your Risk Of Age-Related Cognitive Decline

  • April 22, 2021 BY  Anthem Seniors
  • Anthem Senior Advantage

Alzheimer’s disease or another related dementia severely deteriorates individuals’ functioning and quality of life, placing stress on the entire family. What is alarming is the fact that the number of US adults 70 and over with dementia and mild cognitive impairment is rising. On top of that, the costs related to dementia are higher than those of heart disease and cancer. In view of these things, it’s always a good idea to keep dementia at bay or delay its onset as you age/reduce your risk of age-related cognitive decline.

It’s true currently there’s no treatment that can prevent or cure dementia, however, there are some steps that may help protect you from cognitive decline.

The main ways that cognition changes with aging include

  1. Processing speed (how fast the brain can process information and give a response)
  2. Memory
  3. Attention
  4. Language skills (verbal and written)
  5. Executive functioning (mental skills required for activities connected to planning, problem-solving are referred to over here)
  6. Emotional processing (the way one processes and regulates emotions, negative emotions in particular)

Here are some ways to prevent cognitive decline with age:

  1. Exercise (consult with your doctor in regards to the right type of exercise for you)
  2. Eat a Mediterranean-style diet (this eating pattern lays emphasis on fruits, vegetables, whole grains, nuts and seeds, beans, moderate amounts of fish and dairy products while limiting red meat)
  3. Limit your alcohol consumption to no more than one drink per day
  4. Receiving good-quality sleep may prevent cognitive decline
  5. Stay socially active (living alone or limited social network is a major dementia risk factor)
  6. Keep learning to keep your mind sharp, such as read, learn a new language or musical instrument, etc.
  7. Seek help for underlying conditions
  8. Consult with your doctor about herbs or supplements (can be good ways to prevent cognitive decline)

It can be difficult to differentiate common brain issues, such as very early Alzheimer’s disease from changes due to cognitive decline. However, if you experience signs and symptoms including hallucinations, delusions, personality changes, paranoia, irritability, loss of interest in people/activities, and depression, you must get yourself screened for dementia since these signs are unlikely to be due to cognitive decline alone.

If you are worried about memory loss or other cognitive impairment, do not jump to conclusions without getting yourself evaluated by your doctor first. The reason behind cognitive decline in seniors may be due to underlying medical conditions, such as high blood pressure or more than one of these conditions, which only your doctor can find out. Treating the underlying condition may slow the decline. As dementia progresses, you might be in need of specialized memory care which is the best form of senior living in Anthem. Remember cognitive decline is experienced by one and all as we grow old. The rate at which it occurs varies from individual to individual. The key is to address it much earlier in life rather than putting it off until middle age or older, as it might get too late by then. It is integral to take a lifelong approach to keep our brains in the best possible shape as we age.