Cognitive decline as people age is a natural part of life. However, quick degradation due to health concerns, like dementia, is not normal.
But, did you know that there are ways to slow down the process naturally? The truth is – everything you do today will impact your overall health in the future. So, the healthier you are while you are young, the lesser the risk of obtaining health issues.
But, what about older adults?
If you are looking for ways to slow down dementia or its impacts on seniors and the elderly, this post is for you.
Slow Down Dementia Among Older Adults Naturally
Here are the top ten natural ways to help slow down dementia among older individuals. While some may seem too cliche, do not underestimate the wonders they can provide.
Be More Active
Experts always recommend people to have an active lifestyle. Apart from it helping to improve their overall health, it also decreases the risk of obtaining various health issues and concerns, including cognitive decline.
Studies have already proven and shown the benefits of having an active lifestyle. As for its positive impact on cognitive functions, it helps generate the protein called Irisin.
Scientists and researchers found that people with dementia lack this specific protein. Irisin is responsible for improving recall, as well as generating neuron growth.
But, this only takes place effectively when an individual is active for over 30 minutes per day. This is why experts always recommend having an active lifestyle, especially for older people.
The activities need not be rigorous. It could be light walking in the morning or evening, doing a few chores, or even a simple gardening activity.
Don’t Stress & Stay Social
Stress causes a lot of health issues. These include even concerns that involve brain functions.
There are claims that stress is one of the biggest factors to brain health deterioration. This is why it is essential to stay away from stressful environments and situations.
It is true that there are cases when stress is inevitable. But, as much as possible, it is best to assess the whole scenario before stressing out over everything.
Also, socializing is a helpful way to avoid stress. Being with friends and other people helps uplift situations. But, ensure to surround yourself with the right, loving, and enjoyable people.
Learn To Play An Instrument
Another effective way to slow down cognitive decline, as well as the potential development of dementia, is to learn how to play musical instruments. Based on studies, learning and playing instruments stimulate the brain efficiently.
This is the reason why many individuals take up music lessons, especially parents for their kids. It helps the further development of the brain and stimulates the functions. As for seniors, studies show that they are “less likely” to develop dementia in their later years.
This is also one of the reasons why music therapy is apparent in many care home facilities.
Take At least Seven Hours of Quality Sleep
Sleep is one of the most important things that all people, not only adults and seniors, should prioritize. It is already common knowledge that sleep deprivation is very dangerous as it increases the risk of developing various diseases, and health and brain decline.
As per studies and research, lack of sleep increases the presence of the protein, beta-amyloid. While experts have yet to establish the direct relationship, it has links to Alzheimer’s Disease.
So, if intending to slow down the symptoms of dementia and all of its forms, getting sufficient and quality sleep may help. It is ideal to obtain at least seven or eight hours of sleep. But, make sure to do this during the right time, which begins at 9 or 10 in the evening.
Watch What You Eat
You may have probably heard of the saying, “you are what you eat” — as it happens, this applies here, as well.
Being mindful of your daily consumption will help you with your overall health. The more you eat junk, the more it will reflect on your body and mind. Conversely, the healthier your foods and drinks are, the more benefits your body and mind will obtain.
Watching your foods and drinks does not necessarily mean that you have to observe strict diet programs or meal plans. This does not also equate to forcing yourself to munch on greens alone.
Being watchful simply means that you are monitoring your food and drinks. You are careful of what you put in your mouth to sustain your body and mind.
To help you get started, you may want to focus on maintaining healthy cholesterol levels, blood pressure, and blood glucose.
Gardening is an effective activity to combat immobility. This is very ideal for individuals who are not fond of doing exercises and workout routines.
As it happens, gardening is very beneficial to health because it is like a fitness routine. Moreover, it offers benefits, as well, to people living with dementia and individuals who are at risk of developing forms of dementia. This is why some retirement communities with memory care units have gardening activities in their programs.
It need not be done every single day. Reports said that spending time in the garden, taking care of plants, and all other related activities, at least twice a week can already provide its maximum benefits. But, if you get to enjoy it and decide to do it regularly, then much better.
Get Some Natural Sunlight
Everyone knows all too well that sunlight has health benefits. This is why it is always recommended to get a little sun exposure, especially in the morning.
This is also true for individuals living with dementia or at high risk of immediate cognitive decline. This is because low levels of vitamin D reportedly had more than double the risk of dementia, and all of its forms, like Alzheimer’s Disease.
Vitamin D is a vitamin that is bioavailable via sun exposure. While individuals may increase their D levels via supplements, controlled sun exposure is still the best way to do it.
Just ensure, though, that exposure is limited and controlled. The amount of time one must spend under the sun depends on various factors. But, in general, experts agree that five to ten minutes will already do.
Meditate, and Practice Yoga
Meditation offers a lot of benefits to the human body and mind, especially the latter. Based on studies, doing it regularly can even reduce cognitive decline, as well as emotional turbulence that is often a precursor to Alzheimer’s Disease.
This is why experts advise adults and seniors, as well as young individuals to meditate. Apart from being “in tune” with oneself, it also provides the opportunity to slow down the further aging of the mind.
Similarly, practicing yoga also benefits individuals, in terms of slowing down the symptoms of dementia. As noted, it is not just about having a “more limber body” as it is also the first step to having a “more limber mind.”
Some studies proved that individuals, aged 55 and above, who practice yoga, particularly Kundalini, improved memory and executive functioning. The same people also reportedly diminished depressive symptoms after about three months.
Getting Rid of Bad Habits, Starting Good Ones
Bad habits or vices dramatically deteriorate one’s health. There are studies showing such practices cause detrimental problems. In fact, most of them even reportedly cause quick cognitive decline and dementia.
For older adults and seniors, if bad habits are still apparent, these should be eliminated, as soon as possible. This is most applicable if the intent to slow down dementia is a priority.
While it is not easy to get rid of vices and bad habits, conquering and overcoming them is a must. Not only does it help the mind, but it also benefits all aspects of one’s life.
Some institutions that offer assisted living for seniors with dementia usually help individuals by starting a list. It should include all things that are not beneficial nor helpful to the body. Upon doing so, this will allow the applicable people to analyze the things to do and what not to do.
Keep The Mind Sharp
Keeping the mind sharp is one of the most effective natural ways to slow down cognitive decline. There are several ways to do this, and they are not that difficult, too. They can be fun and creative, as well.
As claimed, intellectual stimulation helps people living with dementia mentally and technically. Some examples include those activities that are based on art.
It is worth noting that art also has benefits to the mind. Moreover, experts have always hailed art, alongside the activities that have relations to it, for its therapeutic qualities.
Other forms of activities to keep the mind sharp include puzzles and word games. As noted, they are found to be “highly successful” in slowing down signs of dementia or cognitive decline. Apart from it, they also help improve cognitive functions.
Keep in mind that cognitive decline is part of the aging process. But, developing dementia and all of its other forms is not despite being common among older adults.
While experts have yet to find the cure for dementia, there are effective ways to slow down its movements and symptoms. All of the ten pointers given above are the most natural ways that any individual can follow easily and effectively.