Maintain the Brain: Tips for Senior Cognitive HealthTuesday, January 14, 2020
Mind, body, and soul
They all work together to impact senior cognitive health
As we get older, there is this common belief that we should just accept the fact that the "old thinker" isn't going to be what it used to be. To some extent, especially if there are cognitive disorders or medical issues, that can be true. But, that doesn't mean that we should go down without a fight when it comes to keeping our minds sharp. What the National Institute on Aging has come to realize is that mental cognition is just as much about physical activities and practices as it is the mind. Here are some things you can do to stay sharp as you get older:
Diet for the MIND
The Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet combines classic Mediterranean influenced dishes with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet to form a dietary plan that has been shown to not only combat the onset of Alzheimer's disease but also help with everyday mental health in seniors. Typically speaking, diets consisting of fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean meats, fish, poultry, non-dairy, and low sugar intake can help keep the brain healthy. Hydration is important as well. Drinking water regularly helps keep the mind fresh.
Keep It MOVING
Physical activity is a huge component of a cognition plan for seniors. You can improve strength and balance when moving, which impacts brain health. Studies show that exercise can increase the size of the hippocampus, the area of the brain that impacts memory and increases retention. The hippocampus normally shrinks during the aging process, but the study showed that exercise releases chemicals in the brain that can stimulate its growth.
The University of Manitoba ran a study on senior centers and came up with an overwhelming statistic: 88% of participants indicated that it is almost always true that the activities help them stay healthy. Most participants also indicated that the activities contribute to their emotional well-being (90%) and help them to relieve stress (85%). They later reported in the study that there is a direct correlation between social interaction and decreased risk of cognitive decline. Socialization can be anything from a one-on-one chat with a friend at the senior center to taking a bus trip with a group. Social interaction is key to keeping the mind sharp and increasing cognitive abilities late in life.
Mind. Body. Soul. McGregor PACE can help in all three of these areas. We provide hot meals to all of our participants. We offer exercise programs and activities for seniors. We want seniors to stay active and independent for as long as possible. So, contact us today and let's find ways to keep your mind, body, and soul engaged!