As we grow older, many of us begin to realize that we’re not as sharp mentally as we once were. A lot of this gets laughed off as “senior moments”, and while it might be common to occasionally misplace your keys or forget the name of new acquaintance, a slip in cognitive ability isn’t something that should be taken lightly.
What many people don’t realize is that aging alone isn’t a cause for cognitive decline. Forgetting a few things here and there is normal, but a true decline is typically due to other neurological disorders – many of which just happen to be more common as we age. The silver lining here is that you don’t have to accept poor memory function as something you just have to deal with. There is plenty of evidence that shows taking steps now to stay mentally active can help protect your neurological health as you age.
What are some of the most effective and easiest ways to stay mentally active as you age? Here are a few to try.
Never Stop Learning
It’s no coincidence that a higher level of education is associated with better mental function in our senior years. This is largely due to the simple “use it or lose it” philosophy. Much like every other part of your body, your brain needs regular exercise and stimulation to keep itself in peak working condition.
Challenging your brain by learning something new or taking on a new mental challenge is a great way to keep everything firing in there. New learning doesn’t necessarily need to be academic based. Learning a new hobby or taking on a new volunteer position that requires you to learn new functions will help keep you sharp as a tack.
Immerse Your Senses
Each of your senses spark at different spots in your brain. This is a big part of the reason why most of us learn best when we use a multisensory approach. As we age, it can become even more important to involve multiple senses in our learning experiences, or even daily life in general.
For example, if you’ve taken up gardening, you might want to smell, feel, and taste the herbs as you’re learning about their properties and how to best use them in your cooking.
Yes, we’re talking about staying mentally active, but being physically active is important for mental health. When you exercise, you’re increasing blood flow and oxygen to your brain – which is important for peak cognitive performance. Plus, regular exercise releases endorphins which elevate your mood, make you feel more confident, and encourage mental alertness on all levels.
Eat for Your Brain
Your brain needs proper nourishment just like the rest of your body. A diet that’s void of nutrients is going to make it difficult to focus on anything. Eat a balanced diet every day that includes plenty of fresh, nutritious produce, good carbs, and high-quality lean protein to make sure your brain is getting the fuel it needs.
Long Term Senior Care With a Focus on Supporting Mental Health
When you’re looking at long term senior care options, it’s important to choose a facility that’s dedicated to supporting the health of their residents on every level. At Princeton Health Care Center, we’re committed to providing activities and opportunities for our senior residents to support and nurture their mental activity. To learn more about our long-term senior care options, and the other services we offer, contact Princeton Health Care Center today.