One of the most unfortunate aspects of elderly care is dealing with dementia, and the slow degrading of mental processes associated with Alzheimer’s Disease. The process is stressful for both the loved one and the caregiver, with greater loss of facilities and abilities as it progresses.
While in most cases, we are unable to halt dementia entirely, we can slow it down. Many techniques and strategies have been found to have legitimate scientific value, delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s and helping to extend the senior’s quality of life considerably.
Based on extensive experience providing elderly care in Delaware County, Neighborly Home Care has several suggestions that can help maintain elderly mental processes during advanced age.
Multiple studies have shown that exercise can also help strengthen the mind as well as the body. As little as 30 minutes per day spent exercising has been shown to enlarge the hippocampus, the portion of the brain governing emotions and memory, which is crucial for preventing the rapid onset of dementia. Sedentary seniors, on the other hand, show a shrinking hippocampus and faster onset of dementia.
Even if a senior has mobility issues, low-impact exercise such as aerobics, yoga, or simple stretching can have significant long-term benefits.
Some might say that “brain food” is a myth invented by health food shops. However, numerous foods have been associated with improved brain function through scientific tests. Two of the most effective examples are olive oil and white fish. A Mediterranean-style diet coupled with plenty of seafood will pay off with longer-lasting cognitive abilities.
Conversely, alcohol has shown a very negative association with mental health. More than a drink or two a day can significantly speed up brain deterioration among elderly adults.
Another common habit among elderly who avoid dementia is that they keep their communication skills polished. Reading books, magazines or internet sites, along with writing letters or emails, has been associated with longer-term brain stability. Some TV is fine, however, communication-focused activities are better.
Virtually any activity that keeps a senior active, interested, and engaged can help delay dementia. Some researchers even believe that consistent brain simulation is more important than any other factor. As long as the individual is doing activities they enjoy – which keeps the brain active – the actual type of activity has minimal significance.
For more information regarding elderly care in Delaware Country, contact Neighborly Home Care at 610-658-5822. All of our caregivers are certified nursing assistants, or they have received equivalent training and passed a nurse aid skills assessment test.