The Myths and Facts Surrounding Cognitive Aging
You leave the house to buy groceries, or to head to work – but you’ve forgotten your wallet. Or your keys. Or phone.
Mental missteps are commonplace – everyone has gone through this scenario. Substitute the destination and forgotten item with different factors but the situation is the same. As these forgetful instances become more and more frequent while we age, the stigma and personal worry that results can be especially damaging.
However – it is important to note that while cognitive aging can be somewhat distressing, there is nothing abnormal about it. Though less frequent, we experience the same forgetfulness in our youth as we do in our elder years. From the moment we are born, we progress through different stages of cognitive aging.
Cognitive aging is not a disease – nor is it as debilitating as real neurological disorders like Alzheimer’s or dementia. According to a report released by the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies, “wisdom and expertise can increase with age, while speed of processing, decision-making, and some types of memory may decline. Cognitive aging may affect daily tasks such as paying bills, driving, following recipes, and adhering to medication schedules.”
There are many different ways to inhibit the negative side effects of cognitive aging. Remaining physically active, managing cardiovascular disease risks, and keeping an open channel of communication with your health care professional can all help mitigate the aging process.
While it may seem obvious, staying engaged intellectually and socially with those around you has also been cited as a way to combat forgetfulness. If a friend or loved one is experiencing symptoms of cognitive aging, lessen the stigma through minimizing your reaction. Making a big deal out of a simple mistake like those listed above is not a helpful response for anyone involved.
Cognitive aging can be a difficult period of decline for anyone experiencing the signs, but if you’re worried about someone living through it independently contact Paradise Living Centers to discuss your options: 602-550-1247.