About five million people in the United States are suffering from varying degrees of dementia. Dementia is “a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.” Research has shown that the process of dementia is a slow one and there has been an uptick in research on how to prevent and slow down the symptoms of dementia.
Instead of waiting until symptoms of dementia start showing themselves, there are ways for people throughout their life, to keep their mind healthy and active. All of these recommendations can be used at any age, whether you are young, middle-aged, or retired, it’s never too early or too late to engage your brain!
It might be a bit of a stereotype to say that older women should take up knitting or sewing. However, the cliche “use it or lose it” exists for a reason. Knitting, quilting, model building, cross-stitching, woodworking, painting, playing chess, or playing golf, are all ways to keep your mind engaged.
According to studies, using the skills on a regular basis and endeavoring to improve or take on more challenging projects will keep memory slips at bay.
Some hobbies can be done in a social setting. Along with the hobbies we already listed-- knitting, quilting, chess, or golf-- there are activities and hobbies that can be done with others. If you love reading, think about joining a local book club. Reading is shown to keep your mind sharp, but expressing and listening to the opinions of others can help keep your reasoning skills functioning.
Consider volunteering for a cause close to your heart. Going and helping at your local food bank, or helping at the local hospital keeps you in contact with many different types of people and lets you hone social skills outside of your friends and family.
Sometimes we lament the amount of technology out in the world, but in terms of keeping an active and engaged mind, technology is practically magic. When you’re in a learning environment, whether that be high school, college, or graduate level work, sometimes it can be exhausting and you wish it over.
You’ll likely find, once you are out of the learning environment, you miss it. Listen to an educational podcast in the car when you are driving places. Pick up an app to learn a new language and commit to studying for a certain amount of time daily. When you challenge your brain to learn new things, you stimulate the processes that will keep your brain cells communicating and functioning.
There have been many studies over the years showing how music is beneficial for dementia and Alzheimer's patients. Even when patients are in the last stages of death, they likely will be able to remember lyrics and sing their favorite hymns, show tunes, or songs.
Newer studies show evidence that people who learned as a child to play an instrument, or older people who never stopped playing an instrument, might help to prevent dementia or slow the progression down.
The doctors at South Orange Chiropractic Center can help you manage and improve your overall health and well-being. Call our offices to make an appointment and see what ways we can help you improve your health and keep your brain active and engaged.