Just like your body, your brain needs exercise, especially as you age. If you are more than 65 years old, your risk of developing dementia doubles each five years. Dementia is a symptom which results from damaged brain cells impacting your personality, memory, and ability to make decisions. Brain damage can arise from a disease, stroke, or a head injury.
Although there’s no cure for dementia and there’s no way to reverse the brain damage, studies show that keeping the brain active with a healthy diet, physical exercise, and activity can help. As with physical activity, starting brain-training activity as early as possible provides better benefits.
Keeping the Mind Sharp
If you are healthy and haven’t reached the age of 65, it is imperative to stimulate your brain with games and activities to keep your mind sharp in your senior years. In case you suffer from dementia, brain activity, and games can still be helpful.
There are a lot of online applications and games that you can play on your computer, tablet, or smartphone. A number of them are free while others require a monthly or one-time fee. Always remember the benefits of playing board games like chess, a jigsaw puzzle, matching games, or checkers.
While you look for online apps and games, find activities which stretch your listening, language, attention, hard-eye coordination, short-term memory as well as special and visual abilities. Bright Home Health Care, a provider of in-home care in Carrolton, Texas, suggests adding brain-training activities which apply to daily life like listening to a new song and writing down the lyrics, researching a new topic or drawing a map from your house to the park. Also, it is imperative to supplement brain activity with a healthy lifestyle by:
• Limiting alcohol consumption
• Eating healthy and maintaining a healthy weight
• Avoiding smoke
• Doing physical exercise
• Getting enough sleep
• Lowering stress
• Avoiding injuries
• Following doctor’s orders to manage conditions or diseases.
• Maintaining an active social life by joining a club, spending time with friends or family members or volunteering.
Essential Things to Take Into Account
Lifestyle changes and brain training may overwhelm you. Avoid trying to change everything at once. Begin slowly by picking a brain game and adding more if you can. Also, if you are bored with the same game, pick another one so you can stay active.
It is imperative to note though that there is no guarantee lifestyle changes and brain training will prevent any forms of dementia. And they will not cure dementia like Alzheimer’s disease. But, dementia associated with a disease like uncontrolled type 2 diabetes can be controlled by managing the disease with healthy living and medicine.
Spotting dementia by yourself is not easy. Usually, it takes a loved one to notice changes. However, the American Academy of Family Physicians (AAFP) says there’s not enough evidence to identify the benefits and drawbacks of doctor screening for dementia. Depression and some medications can be associated with memory loss.
The Best Time to See a Doctor
If you want the best benefits, try to start exercising your brain early. There is no need to be concerned about occasional memory loss because this is normal. But, memory loss associated with dementia becomes worse over time. There are signs that you or your loved one is suffering from dementia.
• Forgetting how to do familiar tasks like cooking, bathing, or driving.
• Experiencing memory loss of recent information or events. You can notice this if your loved one asks the same question and cannot remember the answer.
• Having issues with language like not using the correct word.
• Having poor judgment for simple things like failing to wear the right pair of shoes on his feet.
• Having personality and mood changes which can turn a happy person into a rude, angry one.
• Experiencing loss of interest in things which once mattered like hobbies or time with family or friends.
• Failing to remember how to get to a familiar place.
• Not having the ability to think abstractly like understanding what money is for.