Ways to Prevent Memory Loss and Dementia
Memory loss is one of the most worrying and daunting aspects of old age, with fears that Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia will rid our minds of everything we hold dear. But what exactly causes our brains to decline into a state of memory loss? And what can we do to help prevent or slow this process? Here at Prestige Home Care Agency, we’re going to explain how dementia occurs, and the best ways of tackling it to help you live a fuller and more complete life!
What Is Dementia?
Age-related memory loss takes place when the brain’s synapses breakdown due to long-term decay that starts in middle age. Although this happens to everyone in some form, dementia takes place when this happens at a much faster rate than usual. Whether or not this happens depends on genetic or environmental effects on the body – sometimes lifelong habits can dramatically increase our chances of developing dementia, but scientists are only just beginning to understand this.
How Does Dementia Occur?
Curiously, dementia is more prevalent in those who have worked their brain less throughout their lives rather than those who have worked it more. This may come as a surprise because it seems logical that someone who uses their brain for high cognitive function, such as an engineer or university professor, would have “used up” all their brain capacity by the time they’re old, but this isn’t how it works.
Memory is built into a structure of synapses that connects our cognitive reserves with strong neural connections. People who regularly undertake high cognitive functions are more likely to work the synapses that draw on a wealth of knowledge, strengthening the structure that helps retrieve memories. Those that haven’t done this for most of their life are more likely to have weaker connections to their cognitive reserve and are therefore more at risk of developing dementia when natural degeneration of the brain’s synapses takes place.
How Can You Help Prevent or Slow the Effects of Dementia?
When people reach old age, they tend to relax their mental function – and they often deserve to! But, the downside is that where they were once reinforcing the strong synaptic structure of their brain, they’re now not tending to it like they once did. Luckily, there are plenty of simple and often fun ways to help stop, and even reverse this degeneration!
- Reading on a regular basis – Unlike television and the internet, reading encourages your brain to imagine and draw on past experiences to develop an image of the story you’re engaged with. It’s a brilliant way to keep your mind active.
- Games night – Playing board games with friends helps strengthen the parts of the brain that have developed to understand social interactions. While you’re engrossed in the game, your brain will be assessing everything going on around you, including the reactions of the other players, and trying to find a way for you to win!
- Getting musical – Learning a musical instrument requires great concentration and dexterity while also tapping into your creative side. Even if you haven’t ever played before, it’s never too late to start!
- Dancing – If you’re still physically able to dance, you should make the most of it! Dancing combines both the part of the brain that controls physical movement and the mentally creative side. It’s also a brilliant way to reduce stress!
- Puzzles – Much have been said about so-called “brain games” – puzzles that claim to help with preventing dementia. Puzzles like Sudoku, crosswords, and other concentrations-intensive puzzles help your brain dip into a state of high cognitive function that’s so important for building and maintaining strong synaptic connections! What’s more, there are loads of these now available as handy cellphone apps!
The Outlook for the Future
As science uncovers more and more about memory loss and dementia, we’re constantly learning new ways to prevent it! Try incorporating some of these activities into your everyday life to help prevent dementia but also sharpen up those thinking skills!
At Prestige Home Care Agency of Philadelphia, we work with families to help them find the correct solutions for their specific needs. If you have someone in your family who is struggling with any type of mental illness, our team will do whatever we can to help.