Tools for Maintaining Mental Sharpness as You Age

With age comes wisdom, the saying goes. Unfortunately, age also delivers a mental fuzziness that impedes comprehension, recollection, and decision-making. Losing mental edge does not, however, have to be inevitable. Here are five things seniors in home care can do to maintain mental sharpness.

1. Control “Oxidative Stress”

Oxidation in the body is a rusting process of sorts. It happens when an electron is removed from an atom, and is typically caused by an interaction with a free radical. This can cause a chain reaction that alters molecular bonds and damages cells, tissue, and organs. To prevent this:

  • avoid pro-oxidant metals found in foods, medications, vaccinations, and dental fillings
  • donate blood (this reduces iron storage)
  • eat anti-oxidant rich foods such as fruits and vegetables
  • exercise (this stimulates the body’s natural anti-oxidants)

2. Limit Glucose

Excessive bonding of proteins (hormones and other cellular structures) with sugar molecules (glucose) is called “glycalization.” This causes oxidation, inflammation, and cell death all over the body, including the brain. To reduce glucose levels, eat low glycemic foods and exercise to maintain muscle mass.

3. Manage Hormone Levels

Healthy hormones are essential for proper brain function. Older adults in home care should monitor and improve testosterone, estradiol, progesterone, dihydroepiandrosterone (DHEA), melatonin, and vitamin D3 levels to guard against cognitive impairment, dementia, and Alzheimer’s.

4. Sleep and Meditation

Even mild sleep problems can impair cognition. Exercise, diet, and modifying the sleep environment can improve sleep patterns. Meditation also helps with sleep, while strengthening the brain through new cell growth, a thickened hippocampal cortex (where memories begin), and improved synapses (brain cell connections).

5. Brain Exercises

Seniors in home care who play board games, cards and crossword puzzles work the brain and encourage optimal functioning. Socializing, learning languages, and simply reminiscing also boost brain power.

The compassionate caregivers at Phoenix’s best home health care agency, Cypress Homecare, are committed to your senior loved one’s mental well-being. From participating in fitness to encouraging socialization, your family member will receive individualized and empowering personal care. In the Phoenix area, call 602-264-8009 or Contact Us Online to speak with a home care professional today.

Posted on August 8, 2014