“What can seniors do to avoid dementia and keep their brains healthy and strong as they age?”
“This is a question that frequently comes up in my conversations with people researching senior living options. Older adults want to make proactive decisions when it comes to dementia,” says Sherri Martin, Residency Coordinator for Magnolia Gardens and Sunridge Gardens in Langley, BC.
It’s well-documented that lifestyle impacts brain function as you age. “There are no guarantees, but there are some ways you can choose to live that will help keep your brain healthy.”
Here are five dementia-defying lifestyle decisions Sherri urges you to consider.
1. Stay Social
It’s no secret; isolation is bad for your brain. Get involved in a seniors centre, move to a retirement community, engage in a spiritual community. Prioritize regularly connecting with a group of people, and make an effort to stimulate your brain and feel-good hormones by making new friends.
2. Don’t Let Transportation Stop You
Isolation happens quickly when seniors give up their driver’s licenses. Investigate what transportation options are available to seniors in your community. There will often be inexpensive options. Your local seniors centre will be able to assist.
3. Learn Something Challenging
Try out Ballroom dancing, Bridge or even Wordle. Complex challenges that make your brain work hard will help keep it nimble and active. Don’ get stuck in routines and challenge yourself to do something out of your comfort zone.
4. Be a Volunteer
Not-for-profit organizations, churches, and community organizations are all eager for seniors to pitch-in and offer senior-friendly opportunities. There is tremendous emotional and mental value in knowing that you contribute positively to society.
5. Take Care of Your Body
Last, but definitely not least, diet, exercise and sleep are all well-documented to contribute to brain health. Show your body some TLC so it can take you the distance.
“Often, seniors choose to move into a retirement living community because it’s a solution to social isolation,” says Sherri. “But it’s more than that. It checks all the boxes! You can simultaneously make new friends, learn new skills, volunteer, socialize, and maintain a healthy lifestyle without leaving home.”