Studies suggest that seniors who challenge their minds maintain higher brain elasticity, which can help to prevent degenerative brain diseases such as Dementia and Alzheimer’s.
How Can Mental Activity Help to Prevent Dementia?
Your brain, like your heart, acts as a muscle. The more you challenge your memory, the better your memory becomes, just like the more you use your math skills, the better you become at math. With this same concept in mind, researchers took a control group of about 469 seniors over the age of 75 and tested their brain function over a period of time (from 5 to 21 years), taking into consideration age, gender, amount of physical activity, and what kind of leisure activity each individual participated in.
The findings? Very interesting. Of the 469 seniors, about 125 of them developed a form of degenerative brain disease (various forms of Dementia and Alzheimer’s).
Seniors who actively participated in stimulating leisure activities weren’t less prone to developing Dementia, but their brains were able to cope with the loss of brain cells much easier than those who did not challenge their minds on a daily basis.
All in all, seniors who engaged in daily intellectual conversations, played chess and other board games, read, and played instruments were far less likely to develop symptoms of the diseases.
Companionship for Seniors
Most intellectually stimulating activities (aside from reading) also means interacting with people, which can be difficult for seniors who are living on their own, and visiting children might not visit as often as we’d like. However, there are other options for our elderly family members—companionship services.
“Companionship services aren’t just hospice cases or nurses caring for seniors in need,” says owner Jon Steiner “In fact, many of our employees become family to our clients. Friendship is just one of the many services we offer.”
Indeed, if it means helping Granny’s brain function at higher levels and keeps her mind sharp, we support companionship 100%.
The benefits of companionship for the elderly aren’t just limited to preventing Alzheimer’s and Dementia. Reading, playing board games, interacting with other people, and ballroom dancing has proven to give seniors a higher quality of life.
The Key to Quality Living for Seniors
We all hear about the 92-year-old-man that can runs marathons, and the 90-year-old woman who ballroom dances like it’s the 1920s all over again, but know we have concrete proof that challenging yourself every day is the best way to keep the mind sharp and the brain from developing a degenerative disease.
Seniors, this advice is for you: make friends, seek the company of others, and do what you love—and don’t let your body (or your brain) tell you that you can’t!