When one thinks about aging and retirement, thoughts would either go to the many things they couldn’t do when they were still working or to the long list of ailments seniors tend to feel when age finally catches up with them. One of these ailments that many tend to worry about is Alzheimer’s. In fact, just a simple moment of forgetfulness makes them start to worry if they have the disease themselves.
However, many forget that there is a fine line between cognitive impairment from Alzheimer’s Disease. According to a report from the Institute of Medicine of the National Academies entitled “Cognitive Aging: Progress in Understanding and Opportunities for Action”, cognitive aging is further defined and given a whole new concept to further differentiate it from it degenerative disease counterpart.
For example, it is reported in the article that cognitive aging is a natural occurrence as one grows older. As one ages, one’s memory also undergoes changes however when one’s memory gives way to certain difficulties like being a hindrance from doing daily activities then that is the time one should look into the topic of Alzheimer’s.
Another point that the report put across is that cognition is more than just the idea of memory. Though the general public, and most likely the reader who is is reading this article now, is used to idea that memory loss is often attributed to cognitive decline, one should note that cognitive health also pertains to a variety of abilities such as processing of information and response to it.
However, the report also notes that more studies are needed because we have just scratched the surface of understanding cognitive aging and diseases normally associated with it. But if one is still concerned about their overall mental health and would like to play safe and lengthen their memory even as they age, it is best to start now than later.
The top piece of advice often given if one is concern about their diminishing mental health is to keep an actively healthy lifestyle. This would mean daily exercises that fit their current capabilities as well as activities that would stimulate their brain and maintaining a good social circle. In addition to that is having a healthy lifestyle meaning dropping activities that would pose health risks such as drinking and smoking and changing their diet and day to day activities to help manage their other diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure. Having adequate amount of sleep, following their medication schedule and meeting their physician in a daily basis don’t fall short behind in the list.
One should note that though most of these could often pertain to individual involvement, it is highly beneficial if one’s caregivers and families also take an active role in helping out their aging loved ones when it comes to their cognitive decline.