Activities That Stimulate Cognition in the Elderly

Nowadays, more and more people live longer thanks to the widespread awareness of active ageing. It’s really interesting to know what stimulates cognition in the elderly. And even when you are in the prime of your life, it isn’t wrong to learn some tips and think about how healthy you want to be in 10, 20 or 30 years. The adjustments you make now can be crucial later.

We have done some research into activities that stimulate cognition in the elderly. Read our suggestions and apply them to your daily life!

Exercising

Today they say that sitting too much is the new smoking. But too much intensive exercise doesn’t seem to be good either. What is advisable at an old age? Lots of walking, for example! Leave the car a little more often or get out a little earlier when you travel by public transport. Gardening, golf, swimming, jogging and housework are also possible. It is advised to be slightly active, like 150 minutes a week. This has a number of health benefits. Researchers claim that the risk of stroke in men is much lower if they keep moving at a later age.

Eating smartly

You must have heard it before: a balanced diet is important for overall health. But what do you have to eat to be healthy during your old age? A vegetable and Mediterranean diet seem to be the best. This is mainly based on what people eat in so-called Blue Zones. Blue Zones are defined areas where people either reach the age of 100 with extraordinary percentages, have the highest life expectancy, or the lowest rate of death in middle age.

The diet of the people from Okinawa, Loma Linda, Sardinia, Ikaria and Nicoya mostly consists of beans as a source of proteins, a glass of red wine every day against stress, less meat and more fish, an egg up to 3 times a week, dark bread only, less sugar and dairy and a handful of nuts in between against hunger. Residents from the Blue Zones not only eat healthily but also exercise a lot, have little stress and many social contacts.

Strength training

Strength training at old age has many advantages. Strength training is beneficial not only for losing fat but also for maintaining muscle mass and a healthy memory.

The older you get, the more your muscles will shrink. The training advice? By training twice a week, the white matter of the brain decreases less and brain health increases. The white matter is the part of the nervous system that is responsible for the transfer of information. Strength training is, therefore, good for both mental and physical fitness.

Hand squeezing & Balancing

This advice coincides with two disorders that often occur later in life. Namely sarcopenia, reduction in muscle mass and muscle strength, and falling due to imbalance. Sarcopenia can be detected by performing a hand squeeze test. Muscle reduction can be prevented by strength training, as explained at the previous point.

The squeeze strength test is generally accepted as a simple but valid way to estimate overall muscle strength. For example, squeeze force can easily be measured by your doctor with the  Hydraulic Hand Dynamometer. The risk of falling this test can be reduced by training balance, strength, and by moving more.

Having a (rich) social life

Loneliness among the elderly is common. Nowadays, elderly people pay more and more attention to not being alone. A vibrant social life ensures that you age healthily. Especially emotional support is significant here. According to researchers, receiving social support promotes both physical and psychological health. Discussing personal problems and experiences, in particular, promotes emotional well-being. What is also worth considering while being on retire is responsible equity release, which gives more financial freedom and so, gives more opportunities to meet new people or travel. If you need more information about this topic, you might check the best equity release rates in the UK.

Social support can also work well as a buffer in stress situations and has a beneficial effect on blood pressure, heart rate, cholesterol and cardiovascular disease. It’s also conducive to the psychological health of people with chronic conditions. Loneliness is, therefore characterized primarily by insufficient emotional support. Cherish distant friends, family, neighbours and peers and especially seek each other out. At any age!

Training memory

It seems to be a fable that our brains shrink as age rises and that our memory naturally deteriorates as a result. Nowadays, memory loss is less of a problem. Most people aged 70 and older who fall into the risk group are better educated, which has also made their lifestyle healthier. However, memory training remains important. This can for example be done by doing puzzles. Sudokus, braingames or by using the internet. When mentally demanding things are done, the creation of new connections in the brain is stimulated.

Keep learning

And finally, keep learning. That doesn’t mean that a maths book must be pulled out of the closet, but that it’s important for the brain to gain new experiences. Learn a new hobby, a foreign language or make a nice trip through a country you have never visited before. You don’t have to wait until you are retired. Learning is always possible! New experiences cause new connections between the brain cells so that the brain stays fit.

Conclusion

As you can see, there are a lot of activities that can be done to stimulate cognition in the elderly. However, it’s important to take proper care of your health even before you get older. Being healthy is a state of mind that you should practice your whole life.

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