In an article published by Time's website titled If You Want to Avoid Dementia, Here's What to Know, written by Alice Park, she wrote about those who utilize their brains more, tend to have lower rates of dementia and cognitive issues later in life. That is not to say one will not ever get dementia, or lose some cognitive function, which comes with aging.
Science suggests that we cannot necessarily control the decline, but we can work towards prolonging the decline from happening. A new study in Neuroepidemiology found that continuing education, learning new things, and staying active, can combat the decline in cognitive function to a point.
A research associate from the University College of London mentioned that further education and learning experiences creates a larger cognitive reserve in the brain. Once cognitive decline begins, it can take longer to experience the effects of age-related memory loss. More research is needed to understand this "back-up" system and how it works in relation to age-related memory decline. Something scientists have said to keep in mind is that once that reserve runs out, it is out. This is why keeping the brain active can help create those reserves, by playing cards, games, reading, crossword puzzles, visiting with family and friends, and learning something new.
Exercise also helps to keep the brain fit by keeping the heart healthy. An unhealthy heart can cause circulation and blood flow issues which effect the brain and the blood flow to your brain. Good blood flow is needed for nerve health and healthy nerve connections. A more recent study of sixteen hundred people, ages sixty-five and up, suggested that leading a sedentary lifestyle with minimal movement and physical activity actually puts people at the same risk as those who have the genetic mutation that would put them at risk for developing Alzheimer's.
A good combination of a healthy diet, healthy relationships with others, mental stimulation, exercise, and physical activity on a consistent basis is what Dorina Cadar, of the University College of London, said "seems to help people in older age."
What can you start doing today to help increase your cognitive reserves? What can you do for your loved ones or clients as a caregiver to help them increase their reserves?