Want to stay sharp longer? We all know that physical exercise keeps us in shape, and scientists continue to find mounting evidence that mental stimulation can help ward off age-related cognitive decline. Just this week, Minnesota researchers published promising results in JAMA Neurology. What they found suggests that cognitive activity, even in later years, could add extra “sharp-witted” years to your life.
The team studied the lives of seniors experiencing cognitive impairment. They looked at the level of education, the type of career and the amount of mental stimulation that these older adults had throughout their lives. For people with more education and a mentally stimulating occupation such as a surgeon, or engineer, brain exercises later in life delayed the onset of cognitive impairment by more than 8.7 years, on average. The potential role of mid-to-late life cognitive stimulation, apart from education and job complexity, is very encouraging.
“For people with low education, if you’re able to help them by providing mentally stimulating activities later in life, that could delay cognitive decline by three years, and that really is a big number,” said the lead scientist for the study, Prashanthi Vemuri.
Some easy ways to give your brain a workout today:
- Start playing bridge
- Try a crossword puzzle or Sudoku
- Sign up for continuing education classes
- Play brain games online such as Lumosity
- Read a new book (check out our senior wellness book series)
- Get started with Cognitive Therapeutics Method™
Home Care Assistance created the Cognitive Therapeutics Method™ to specifically and methodically stimulate areas of the brain responsible for language, attention, visual-spatial perception, memory and executive functioning through one-on-one activities. The program is supported by the overwhelming support from the scientific community that cognitive stimulation is beneficial for older adults who are either already experiencing or are worried about experiencing symptoms of cognitive decline.