[Updated: November 27, 2022 | Published: July 11, 2017]
Retirement is when we finally get to slow down and make memories with our families. As we age, it’s important to take steps to care for our mind over the years to come.
While cognitive decline is often the result of many factors, including age, genetics, environment, lifestyle and medical conditions, a proactive approach to preventing potential memory problems is the best way to combat the issue. A healthy lifestyle significantly decreases chances of developing memory problems and will allow for a more peaceful, enjoyable and exciting retirement.
At Friendship Village of Dublin, we believe the best way to ensure a long, happy retirement is by maintaining a proactive, health-conscious lifestyle. Here are some tips that research shows will keep your mind sharp and decrease the chances of cognitive decline as you age:
Following a diet that is low in sugar and trans fats but high in fruit, vegetables and omega-3 fats (like fish) is associated with lower rates of Alzheimer’s, dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. The MIND diet is a great way to maintain healthy eating and has demonstrated a range of positive health benefits to both the brain and body.
Engaging in regular cardiovascular exercise like walking, swimming and cycling doesn’t just benefit the body – but also the mind. Studies show that increased physical activity improves blood flow to the brain, encourages growth of new blood vessels in the brain and is associated with significantly less cognitive impairment. Regular exercise also improves mood and combats depression.
Research shows that engaging in social activities, maintaining strong social connections and staying mentally active significantly reduces the chances of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia. While the reason for this is unclear, researchers speculate that social interactions improve connections in the brain and promote cognitive flexibility. Volunteering, joining a book club, having dinner with friends or calling your family are all great ways to keep connected and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
While a disrupted sleep cycle is a side effect of Alzheimer’s and dementia, it is also a potential risk factor. Deep sleep is necessary for long-term memory function and removes metabolic waste from the brain. Ensuring good sleep hygiene – like adequate exposure to natural light, establishing a regular bedtime and maintaining a quiet sleep environment – is key to preventing potential memory problems.
No matter your age, its never too early or too late to take the necessary steps to ensure your mind is healthy. If you have any tips that you think we missed let us know in the comments below!