Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These, as well as other impacts of cognitive decline, make life challenging for older adults and people who care for them, and may be a consequence of:
- Health conditions such as heart disease, Alzheimer’s disease, stroke, diabetes, as well as others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle changes
- And much more
Nonetheless, it’s important to realize that aging in and of itself does not have to equal an inevitable lessening of our memory and capability to clearly think and learn new things. There are actually steps we should all take to safeguard against serious or mild cognitive impairment, such as:
- Start (and remain) moving. Regular exercise, especially aerobic exercise, has been associated with a marked improvement in the brain’s ability to produce new network connections in addition to maintaining older ones – an essential element of cognitive health. Not only that, but the actual size of the brain structure pertaining to learning and memory improves in those who are physically active, helping to maximize spatial memory functioning. The most common recommendation is to shoot for half an hour on most days of physical exercise, but be sure to speak with the doctor prior to starting or modifying any fitness program.
- Exercise your brain, too. Keeping the mind active and engaged has been shown to establish cognitive reserve in the brain, allowing for compensation for certain brain changes pertaining to aging or other conditions. In one recent study, people who engaged in meaningful, intellectually-stimulating activities achieved greater memory improvement than those who did not. Good choices to keep the mind active include reading, playing games, learning new skills or hobbies, and working or volunteering.
- Connect with other people. A number of scientific studies document the negative impact of social isolation on both physical and emotional health. Staying socially connected with friends, family, together with the community at large is critical for the elderly. By keeping the brain engaged and active, the risk for health complications such as depression is lowered. When in-person get-togethers are not possible, use technology (such as Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime) to socialize, and communicate with others through social media or simply through good, old-fashioned letter and card writing.
As one of the top home care agencies in Towson, Absolute Companion Care can help senior loved ones maximize cognitive functioning and general health and wellbeing through individualized in-home care services that can include:
- Providing transportation to outings, the gym, exercise classes, medical appointments, and much more
- Preparing healthy and balanced meals
- Companionship to increase socialization and engage in mental-stimulating puzzles and games, conversations, exercising together, trying new hobbies and learning new skills together, and more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry tasks, allowing older adults and their families to spend good quality time together
- And many others
Reach out to our Towson aging care team at 410-357-9640 for more information about how we can help the seniors in your life, and to request a no-cost in-home consultation. For a full list of the communities we serve, please visit our Service Area page.