As we age, it’s inevitable that our minds and bodies will age with us. With one person being diagnosed with dementia every 4 seconds globally, it’s important to take the preventative steps to protect your mental health now. You might ask yourself, “what can I do now to protect my brain later?” We’ve provided some answers in the tips below!
1. Improve your diet
We are all guilty of getting off track with our eating habits once or twice. But overindulgence might be affecting us more than we thought. A long term healthy and nutritious diet has been proven to both improve and elongate cognitive mental health. Maintaining a well-balanced diet can lower your cholesterol and blood pressure, which creates a positive domino effect to improve your overall health and brain function.
2. Avoid Substance Abuse
Substances like alcohol and tobacco are poisonous to our bodies and carry serious health risks. By limiting your intake of alcohol or tobacco you are saving your body from physical and mental deterioration. Research suggests that substance abuse can actually lead to faster cognitive decline. According to research conducted by The British Journal of Psychiatry, those who frequently consumed alcohol and tobacco had a 36% faster cognitive decline than those that did not. This research suggests the less of these substances you use, the greater your mental health remains in the long term.
3. Get Social
Hanging out with friends and family can seem like a natural task, but as you age, social interaction can become increasingly difficult. Maintaining a healthy amount of social interaction has many added benefits for your mental, emotional and even physical health. Being around people has been proven to reduce the risk of depression by nearly half. A study conducted by JAMA Psychiatry in 2015 showed that people with depression were 83% more likely to acquire dementia in their lifetime than those who were not depressed. With social interaction being a proven way to reduce the risk of depression, and dementia being so closely correlated with depression, hanging out with others is a great way to elongate your brain’s health.
Although it may not seem like physical exercise would have an effect on your brain’s health, it does! Research shows that aerobic exercises can actually grow the size of the brain area used for verbal memory and learning. Regular exercise can keep your brain healthy for years to come!
5. Get More Sleep
We all know how great we feel after a good night’s sleep. A mood boost isn’t the only thing we get from a restful night. Our brain uses sleep as a time to consolidate memories from the day and improve overall memory function. It’s important to get into a sleep routine and stick to it to protect your mental health as you age.
With 19 specialized programs and facilities and 2,500 hundred dedicated caregivers, Loretto is dedicated to providing quality care to the Central New York Community. We proudly serve 9,000 residents and their families with a system of care that addresses the unique needs of every individual. Looking for more information on care for you and your loved one? Visit our Choosing Your Care page, or feel free to contact us!