The Top 5 Ways to Keep Your Brain Healthy as You Age

  • By Western Home Communities
  • 14 Aug, 2017
5 tips to keep your brain healthy

The Aging Adult's Brain

Every brain changes with age and many seniors fear the unknown that can come from cognitive decline over time. We begin to experience lapses in memory, or “senior moments” as they are commonly referred. Not remembering why you entered a room, misplacing your keys, or forgetting a plan you made with a friend are examples of the normal memory loss many older adults may encounter in their later years.

There are a variety of reasons adults experience these memory problems, including a decline in memory and cognitive skills as a result of decreased blood flow to the brain. Additionally, the aging hippocampus deteriorates, and this affects our ability to form and retrieve memories. Hormones protecting and repairing the also brain decrease with age. These fleeting memory problems leading to the “senior moments” we experience reflect normal changes in the brain over time.

5 Ways to Maintain a Healthy Brain

Although a cure has not been discovered to prevent the serious memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s and other related dementias, research has found various strategies to combat the natural decline in cognitive abilities most adults experience. Leading a healthy lifestyle can do more than benefit your physical health, but can improve and sharpen your mental health over time.

Keep a healthy brain by implementing these healthy lifestyle tips into your daily routine:

Eat a healthy diet: Eating a well-balanced diet of healthy brain foods like fruits, vegetables, whole grains and low fat and sugar can help reduce risk for cognitive decline. In fact, research has found certain foods including blueberries, fish, almonds, curry powder, and even an occasional glass of red wine can help slow memory and cognitive decline and combat dementia in older adults.

Physical and mental exercise:
Regular physical exercise can increase the production of the small blood vessels that supply blood to the brain and stimulate the brain’s ability to maintain and create connections. Additionally, brain exercises such as puzzles, brain teasers and strategic games can positively stimulate the brain and decrease risk of dementia.

Get quality sleep:
Adults require at least 7-8 hours of sleep a night for the brain to recover, store memories and flush out toxins. In fact, numerous studies show a link between poor sleep patterns and higher levels of beta-amyloids, the brain-clogging proteins that can further interfere with sleep. Getting a healthy amount of sleep can increase the brain’s ability to function and form memories.

Manage stress levels:
Adults with high levels of stress experience a variety of negative effects on the body and their brain health. Chronic stress has been proven to lead to deterioration in the memory area on the brain, negatively impacting nerve growth and cognitive abilities over time. Taking time out of your day to eliminate stress through meditation, relaxation and guided breathing can help reduce your risk for memory decline.

Maintain an active social life:
Having a positive social support network can be a major part of leading a healthy lifestyle, both mentally and physically. Aging adults can often face social isolation as they age, leading to a higher risk of dementia. Look for activities you enjoy, reach out to others in your community, take a senior fitness class, or simply meet a friend for lunch once a week to ensure you stay actively engaged in life around you.

Discover an Enriching Lifestyle with Western Home Communities

At Western Home Communities, our mission is to create fulfilling lifestyles for our residents, everyday. With a variety of engaging activities and living options , you will be sure to find a lifestyle that keeps you mentally, spiritually and physically well as you age. Contact us today by calling (319) 277-2141  to schedule a tour of our vibrant retirement community in Cedar Falls, IA.

The Western Home Communities Blog

By Western Home Communities 16 Aug, 2017

The older you get, the more difficult it can become to stay physically active. In fact, as you entered your forties, you began to lose three-to-five percent of your muscle mass with each subsequent decade of life. Chronic conditions like arthritis or osteoporosis can make certain movements painful, limiting your flexibility and your range of motion. Maybe you simply don’t know what types of exercises are best or safest for your individual needs, or you’re wary of joining the fancy new gym down the street.

However, while exercise is important for those of all ages, active seniors enjoy a variety of additional benefits to their overall health. For instance, senior fitness helps with healthy aging in the following ways:

Managing chronic conditions. The more you move, the better you feel! Exercise is crucial for managing and reducing pain from conditions like arthritis, as regular movement helps lubricate the joints and decrease stiffness. Exercise has also been shown to reduce the risk for heart disease, cognitive impairment, diabetes and stroke.

Boosting mental health, memory and cognition.
Exercise is a known mood-booster, and it may be one of the most cost-effective ways to improve your memory performance, too. Exercise increases heart rate, which helps pump more oxygen to the brain. It also releases a variety of hormones in the brain that promote new cell growth.

Decreasing the need for some medications.
A combination of aerobic activity, strength training and flexibility exercises can reduce the need for the variety of medications you may take daily to manage your physical and mental conditions. For instance, exercise can help reduce systolic blood pressure and decrease your need for blood pressure medication.

Preventing falls.
Falls are the leading cause of fatal and nonfatal injuries in seniors; in fact, one out of three adults age 65 or older suffer a debilitating fall each year. Adding balance exercises can help keep you steady on your feet and lead to a higher level of independence.

Improving sleep habits.
Seniors who suffer from insomnia find that exercise helps exhaust them enough to enjoy restful sleep throughout the night. It makes sense – after all, if you are more active throughout the day, you will be more tired in the evening. Just make sure to avoid strenuous activity two hours before bedtime.

By Western Home Communities 14 Aug, 2017

Every brain changes with age and many seniors fear the unknown that can come from cognitive decline over time. We begin to experience lapses in memory, or “senior moments” as they are commonly referred. Not remembering why you entered a room, misplacing your keys, or forgetting a plan you made with a friend are examples of the normal memory loss many older adults may encounter in their later years.

There are a variety of reasons adults experience these memory problems, including a decline in memory and cognitive skills as a result of decreased blood flow to the brain. Additionally, the aging hippocampus deteriorates, and this affects our ability to form and retrieve memories. Hormones protecting and repairing the also brain decrease with age. These fleeting memory problems leading to the “senior moments” we experience reflect normal changes in the brain over time.

By Western Home Communities 01 Aug, 2017

In late 2015, senior advocacy group LeadingAge  announced a new name for a continuing care retirement community (CCRC): life plan community. Why the change? After two years of research, it was concluded that today’s seniors prefer a different term that better describes their plans for the future – to continue living life to the fullest extent, with a true way to age in place in a community they call home.

A life plan community is a far cry from the medical facilities of the past that were more nursing home-like than a true neighborhood. These communities offer innovative, independent senior housing options like active living  in a free-standing home, townhome or apartment and ongoing care in an assisted living  or memory care  neighborhood. Residents in life plan communities not only have peace of mind for their future needs, but it’s also reported that many of these seniors enjoy healthy, vibrant lifestyles longer than those who live alone in their homes.

By Western Home Communities 24 Jul, 2017

For seniors who are ready to fully enjoy their retirement and simplify their lives, downsizing from a large home to a senior living community can provide the carefree lifestyle they crave. While moving from a long-time home can bring up sentimental and nostalgic feelings, many of today’s older adults look forward to eliminating some of the hassles that come along with home ownership.

By Western Home Communities 10 Jul, 2017

Creating social relationships and connecting with other people is a huge part of what shapes us throughout our lives. Whether you are introverted or extroverted, maintaining a socially active lifestyle can impact your mental, physical and emotional well-being. In fact, staying engaged in social interactions can be just as effective as exercise in improving your mood and overall health.

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