How Brain Training Reduces Cognitive Decline
It is hard to imagine that someday you might forget the name of your children or loved ones. Unfortunately, this is a likely risk for many people. One in 50 people, 65 and older are of at risk of developing Alzheimer’s and nearly one-third of people age 85 and older is diagnosed. Fortunately, there are steps to take to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Remember, the brain is a muscle, and just like other muscles the brain can be strengthened with intense mental exercises and training that targets and works on the brain’s core cognitive skills.
A ten-year study compared the effects of three forms of brain training in a group of 2,802 cognitively healthy seniors. In this study, researchers found that brain training cut the risk of dementia by 33 percent. The study used computerized “brain games” that challenged memory and reasoning skills. Lumosity and LearningRx are two companies that apply digital games into a brain-training program and they each claim their programs can improve attention, memory or overall intelligence. At Paradise Living Centers, residents are provided with personalized attention in 45-minute, one-on-one sessions, designed to help improve cognitive ability.
While online brain training is still undergoing research for its claims about lowering the risk of Alzheimer’s, but it offers hope for those at risk of cognitive diseases. Regardless, there are a number of things we know that help boost brainpower without the use of brain training programs:
Learn something new
Try surfing for the first time, test out a new recipe or take a class. Doing something new will change the structure of your brain by creating new neural pathways. Making that new chicken recipe or better yet, taking a cooking class can increase your brain power.
Break a sweat
Go for a walk or a hike, take a Zumba class or do resistance training. Regular exercise not only benefits your physical wellbeing, it also increases neurogenesis, which means every time you exercise you are creating new brain cells.
Read a book
Turn off the T.V. and grab a book to help spark the imagination. Reading relieves tensions and stress, improves memory and concentration, and makes you think. It has also been shown to reduce mental decline. Consider a visit to your local library!
Eat your fruits and veggies
Not all food is created equal. Add avocado, salmon, and blueberries to your grocery list. These foods are among some of the most beneficial foods for your brain. Avocados contain vitamin K and folate, which improves cognitive function, memory and concentration. Salmon is packed with Omega-3 fatty acids to help keep your brain running smoothly and improve memory, and blueberries are great for protecting the brain from degeneration and stress because of the high amounts of gallic acid.
Get some rest
The brain needs sleep to function properly. If you don’t sleep, your ability to learn new information can drop by as much as 40 percent. During sleep your brain stores information into long-term memory. It also makes creative connections while you sleep, which allows people to generate ideas. Make it a point to get at least 6 to 8 hours of sleep, and enjoy a nap every now and then. You’ll be doing your brain a favor!
Alzheimer’s is a debilitating disease and it currently has no cure. But exercising your brain and adapting healthy habits can help reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
At Paradise Living Centers our certified caregivers, memory care experts, and dedicated on-staff nurse care for our residents as if they were family. If your loved one is suffering from the symptoms of dementia or Alzheimer’s, contact their primary care physician for an exam. If you or a loved one have been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia and it additional care is needed, call 480.878.4112 to speak with our Care Manager and learn more about our services.