Forgetfulness. Confusion. Disorientation. These as well as other impacts of cognitive decline make life challenging for seniors and those who care for them, and may derive from:
- Health conditions such as heart disease, stroke, diabetes, Alzheimer’s disease, as well as others
- Brain injury
- Medication side effects
- Poor lifestyle choices
- And much more
Yet it is important to understand that aging in and of itself doesn’t need to equal an inevitable lessening of our memory and capability to clearly think and learn new things. There are actually steps we can all take to protect and strengthen our cognitive health, such as:
- Start (and remain) moving. Physical activity, especially aerobic exercise, has been connected to a marked improvement in the brain’s ability to produce new network connections along with maintaining older ones – an essential component of cognitive health. Not only that, but the actual size of the brain structure associated with learning and memory increases in individuals who are physically active, helping to optimize spatial memory functioning. The typical suggestion is to strive for 30 minutes on most days of physical exercise, but be sure to seek the advice of the doctor prior to starting or changing any exercise program.
- Exercise your brain, too. Keeping the mind active and engaged has been shown to establish cognitive reserves within the brain, allowing for compensation for certain brain changes pertaining to aging or other conditions. In one recent study, individuals who engaged in meaningful, intellectually-stimulating activities attained greater memory improvement than those who did not. Good choices to help keep the mind active include reading, playing games, learning new skills or hobbies, and volunteering or working.
- Interact with others. A number of research studies report the damaging effects of social isolation on both physical and emotional health. Staying socially connected to family, friends, and the community at large is critical for senior loved ones. By keeping the brain active and engaged, the danger for health complications such as depression is lowered. When in-person get-togethers aren’t possible, utilize technology (for example, Zoom, Skype, and FaceTime) to socialize, and interact with others through social media or just through good, old-fashioned card and letter writing.
Inspired Home Care’s professional senior care services in Wilmette and surrounding communities can help seniors optimize cognitive health and general wellbeing through individualized in-home care services that can include:
- Providing transportation to outings, the fitness center, medical appointments, exercise classes, and more
- Preparing nourishing meals
- Companionship to enhance socialization and take part in mentally-stimulating games and puzzles, conversations, exercising together, learning new skills and trying new hobbies together, and so much more
- Taking care of housekeeping and laundry chores, allowing older adults and their loved ones to spend high quality time together
- And much more
Contact our caregiver team at 847-787-7572 for additional details on how senior care in Wilmette and surrounding areas can assist loved ones in your life, and to request a no-cost in-home consultation. For a full list of each of the communities where are services are available, please visit our Locations Served page.