As an older adult, you likely know the importance of maintaining a regular exercise routine, eating healthy and getting the right amount of sleep. Taking care of your body and your physical health certainly helps you to live well. But did you know that staying mentally healthy is equally important?
Like most endeavors, aging well is a coordinated effort that requires a variety of strategies to achieve. The good news is that almost everything you can do to support your body is also good for your brain, giving you twice the benefits.
Tips to Support Your Brain Health
Consider these suggestions to help keep your mind in peak condition:
- Get plenty of mental stimulation
Scientists have found that certain activities not only stimulate connections between nerve cells, but may actually help the brain generate new cells, which can build up a functional reserve. This benefit can help counter future cell loss.
Tips to try: Consider reading, taking an educational course, or working on word puzzles or math problems. Activities that require both manual dexterity and mental effort also provide a brain boost, including drawing, painting or other crafts.
- Keep a regular exercise routine
The movements that keep your body in shape can also benefit your mind. Exercise helps supply oxygen-rich blood to the part of the brain responsible for thinking. Additionally, regular exercise encourages the development of new nerve cells and increased connections between cells, leading to more efficient and adaptive brains.
Tips to try: The best exercise routine is the one you’ll stick with. The choices are endless - weights, aerobic classes, dancing, swimming, walking and yoga are just a few.
- Improve your diet
Not surprisingly, eating nutritious meals benefits your mind as well as your body. Research has discovered that changing your diet could significantly decrease your risk of developing cognitive change like dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Tips to try: Studies show that a Mediterranean-style diet is optimal for keeping our brains healthy. Try incorporating more fruits, vegetables, fish, nuts, unsaturated oils and plant sources of protein into your daily meals.
- Improve your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol
High blood pressure in midlife has been found to increase the risk of cognitive decline as a person ages. Diabetes is also a risk factor for dementia, as are high levels of LDL (bad) cholesterol.
Tips to try: While medication may be needed if conditions can’t be controlled with diet and lifestyle changes, exercising regularly, reducing stress, eating healthy, controlling your weight and avoiding tobacco can help.
- Stay social, take care of your emotions and protect your head
Strong relationships can lower blood pressure, increase longevity and may also decrease your risk of dementia. In addition, taking steps to promote good mental and emotional health can help your cognitive function by reducing stress. And remember, even moderate head injuries can increase the risk of cognitive impairment.
Tips to try: Foster social relationships and stay active. Get the right amount of rest and keep your stress and anxiety in check. And remember, always wear a helmet and take any other protective measures to keep your brain safe from injury.
Source: Harvard Health Publishing
How a Senior Living Community Can Support Your Brain Health
If you’re looking for additional ways to keep your brain and mental health in top shape, you may want to consider where you live.
Choosing to move to a senior living community provides you with several benefits, including those that may boost your brain health. (And they’re all accessible just steps from your front door.)
Consider a few of a community’s advantages that promote good brain and mental health:
- Private residences and an independent lifestyle
Optimal brain health begins with having your own personal space to recharge and relax. Maintaining your independence and being in control of your life are also great contributors.
- Fitness centers and classes
It’s essential to keep your body moving and your mind stimulated to meet your wellness goals. You’ll find several opportunities to do both in independent living.
- Opportunities to meet and make new friends
Communities are designed to support their residents to live their best lives. Helping them form relationships and interact with others is at the top of the list.
- Activities and social events
Those who remain active and socially involved enjoy the benefits of better physical and mental health. Communities supply several opportunities to do just that.
- Healthy and delicious dining options
Even if your home has a full-sized kitchen, it is always a delight to know there are delicious and nutritious options when you’re not in the mood to cook.
Life at Eskaton Communities
The word Eskaton means “dawn of a new day.” In our communities, we see each day as an opportunity to enhance the lives of our residents. We’ve been serving the Sacramento region and Northern California for over 50 years.
The Eskaton Difference starts with our life-enriching programs and collaborative partnerships. With a national reputation for innovation, we focus on creating communities that provide our residents everything they need for purposeful living. We invite you to visit one of our award-winning communities to discover some of the benefits we offer, such as:
- Private residences
- Delicious and nutritious meals
- Social opportunities to meet and make new friends
- Creative activities and therapies
- Fitness centers and exercise classes
- Housekeeping services
- Transportation services
- 24-hour staffing
- Pet friendly
- Free Wi-Fi
- And much, much more!
If you’re considering whether senior living could be the best choice for you or a loved one, we’re here to answer any questions you may have. We also invite you to download our complimentary information, Family Decision Toolkit: How to choose the right senior living community.
To schedule a personalized tour, call us at 1-866-ESKATON (or 1-866-375-2866) or visit eskaton.org.