Do mental health issues cause Alzheimer’s?
A recent study published in the Journals of Gerontology: Social Sciences revealed an alarming trend for baby boomers: They are experiencing cognitive decline faster than any other generation.
On paper, boomers had it pretty good compared to the previous generations:
- Better education
- Better jobs
- Access to healthier lifestyles
Those are all factors that should add up to better results. However, a closer look suggests that an overall downturn in physical activity and an increase in mental health problems contribute to declining cognitive functioning.
Heart health and brain health are closely tied together. A negative combination of the two factors could contribute to cognitive decline and a higher risk of dementia in older adults.
Challenges of the Baby Boomer generation include:
- Higher levels of loneliness
- A lower percentage of marriage
- Less wealth
- Depression and mental health problems
- Physical inactivity
- High blood pressure
- Type 2 diabetes
What is cognitive functioning?
Cognitive functioning is everything you need to manage your daily life. Things like memory, attention, perception, and comprehension are how people get through this thing called life.
Making plans with friends, cooking a meal, and enjoying a vacation require cognitive functions to come together.
Can people lose cognitive functioning?
Yes. Dementia is the result of cognitive decline.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia. Most dementias are progressive, meaning eventually, the person will lose all cognitive functioning. The result prevents seniors from being able to live independently.
Some forms of dementia are hereditary, while major factors include how people treat their bodies in middle age. Diet, exercise, and mental health are crucial to curb the risk of dementia later in life.
How can I prevent dementia?
Take a cue from the seniors at Shenandoah Senior Living. While some of these residents already live with Alzheimer’s and dementia, promoting a healthy lifestyle helps them slow the decline and continue learning. They find purpose and relief by staying busy.
Things that help mental and physical health:
- Proper diet
- Continued learning
Leading a lifestyle with a healthy balance of these qualities can help people of all ages decrease their dementia risk. But, even in the early to middle stages of dementia, these changes can improve quality of life.
Use It or Lose It
The brain is not technically a muscle, but it still deserves to be exercised. Brain games like puzzles, trivia, and bingo are fantastic ways to keep the mind sharp and active. These are daily occurrences in our Virginia memory care community.
Creativity and Enjoying the Finer Things in Life
Researchers discovered that people over 50 were 32% less likely to develop depression when they enjoyed a creative pursuit. Either visiting culture at a museum or creating a work of art can lead to positive results:
- An increase in social activity
- Vital cognitive stimulation
- Low-impact physical activity
People in the study recorded a better outlook on life, fewer injuries, a decrease in doctors’ visits, less need for medications, and experienced less loneliness.
Take a look at how memory care residents in Front Royal, VA stay culturally active:
Creative pursuits are essential for people with dementia. They are failure-free activities that can boost self-esteem while reducing anxiety and agitation.
You don’t have to be a marathon runner or a bodybuilder to reap the benefits of exercise—things like walking, gardening, and cooking count as staying active. The mind and body will thank you for remaining sedentary as little as possible.
At Shenandoah Senior Living, we always make time in the day for a morning stretch, seated exercise, and walking.
Activity is Essential for Protecting Mental Health and Curbing Dementia
The Silver Tsunami is upon us, and there’s enough evidence to show that every aspect of health is interconnected.
Adding up your heart and mental health can give you a pretty good picture of your brain health. Aligning all those qualities can decrease the risk of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
If possible, go for that morning walk and meet your friends for lunch. Fill your afternoon with a puzzle or help the grandkids with their homework. Think of all the health benefits you might gain from it in the long run.
Think about the high level of activity Shenandoah Senior Living residents are experiencing in memory care. Virginia seniors are leading by example.
Visit Senior Living and Memory Care
Assisted living and memory care for Alzheimer’s and dementia is available in Front Royal, Virginia at Shenandoah Senior Living. Our residents enjoy various activities, care services, and convenient amenities. Contact us to learn more.