Susan always knew that after she retired she would be living an active lifestyle. She travels a lot and at 68 she’s been to more than 12 countries and is planning many more trips. On any given day, you might find her out on the lake, exploring a new hiking trail with the grandkids, or volunteering at the local children’s hospital.

Seeing and doing new things is what Susan’s all about. But in the back of her mind, Susan is worried that cognitive decline or dementia could change all that.

When Susan’s mother was about her age she began showing the first signs of cognitive decline. Susan watched her mother, who she had always loved and respected, struggle more and more with daily tasks over a 15 year period. She forgets random things. Eventually, she could only recognize Susan on a good day.

Having seen what her mother went through, Susan has always tried to remain healthy, eating a well-balanced diet and getting plenty of exercise. But she isn’t certain that will be enough. Are there proven ways to slow dementia or cognitive decline?

The good news is, it is possible to stave off cognitive decline by doing a few things. Three of them are listed here.

1. Get Exercise

This one was already part of Susan’s day-to-day life. Each day she attempts to get at least the recommended amount of exercise.

People who do modest exercise every day have a reduced risk of cognitive decline according to many studies. They’ve also had a positive effect on people who are already experiencing symptoms of mental decline.

Here are a number of reasons why scientists believe regular exercise can stave off mental decline.

  1. As an individual ages, the nervous system degenerates and consistent exercise can slow this. The brain uses these nerves to communicate with the body, process memories, and think about how to do things. Exercise slows this breakdown so scientists believe that it could also slow cognitive decline.
  2. Neuroprtection factors might be enhanced with exercise. There are mechanisms within your body that safeguard some cells from damage. Scientists think that a person who exercises may produce more of these protectors.
  3. The risk of cardiovascular disease is lowered by exercising. Blood brings nutrients and oxygen to cells in the brain. Cells will die when cardiovascular disease stops this blood flow. Exercise may be able to slow down dementia by keeping these vessels healthy.

2. Have Vision Concerns Treated

An 18-year study of 2000 people with cataracts, revealed that getting cataract surgery halved the rate of mental decline in the group who had them extracted.

While this research focused on one common cause for loss of eyesight, this study backs the fact that maintaining eyesight as you get older is important for your mental health.

People often begin to isolate themselves from friends and withdraw from things they love when they lose their eyesight at an older age. Further studies have examined connections between social separation and worsening dementia.

If you have cataracts, don’t just disregard them. You’ll be protecting yourself against the development of dementia if you do what you can to preserve healthy vision.

3. Get Hearing Aids

If you have neglected hearing loss, you may be on your way into cognitive decline. The same researchers in the cataract research gave 2000 different participants who had hearing loss a hearing aid. They tested the progression of mental decline in the same manner.

The results were even more significant. Cognitive decline was reduced by 75% in the people who received hearing aids. So the dementia symptoms they were already noticing simply stopped.

There are some probable reasons for this.

First is the social element. People tend to go into isolation when they have neglected hearing loss because interacting with friends at restaurants and clubs becomes a challenge.

Also, a person slowly forgets how to hear when they start to lose their hearing. The deterioration progressively affects other parts of the brain the longer the person waits to get their hearing aids.

Researchers have, in fact, utilized an MRI to compare the brains of people with untreated hearing loss to those who use a hearing aid. People with neglected hearing loss actually have shrinking of the brain.

Clearly, your mental capability and memory are going to begin to falter under these conditions.

If you have hearing aids, wear them to stave off dementia. If you’re procrastinating on getting a hearing aid, even with hearing loss, it’s time to call us for a hearing examination. Learn how you can hear better with modern technological advancements in hearing aids.

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