For people who are mindful of aging, and especially for those at risk for dementia, preventative steps provide hope and a sense of empowerment. Even patients diagnosed with dementia, whether young or old, benefit from mental exercises. Here are some ways to keep your mind active and healthy:
Be a Life-Long Learner
There seems to be this idea that once someone is out of school or finished with their career, further learning isn’t necessary. This couldn’t be further from the truth. People who continue learning regardless of age tend to have healthier minds. Reading, taking free online classes, volunteering and learning a new skill are all ways to keep the mind active.
Use It or Lose It
Use it or lose it applies to many things, including the brain. Crossword puzzles, sudoku and other simple games are all good ways to keep the brain active as one ages.
Keep Yourself Active
Though we tend to think of the mind as an abstract entity, it is connected to a physical organ. The brain benefits from fitness as much as any other part of the body. Regular exercise relieves stress, lessens aches and pains, and improves brain function. Physical activity doesn’t necessarily have to be strenuous. A simple daily walk, physical therapy exercises or some light swimming is enough.
Eat the Right Foods
The importance of eating a nutritionally balanced diet cannot be overstated. There are many delicious, healthy and easy-to-make recipes available online and in print. Cooking is itself another way to keep the mind active.
If you are worried about developing dementia, you should know that no one has to passively sit by and wait for old age to claim their mind. By learning, using the brain, staying active, and eating right it is possible for anyone to keep their mind active as they age. If you are caring for a loved one with dementia and have questions or need respite, please reach out.