Mental Exercises Can Maintain Seniors’ Cognitive Health

As our society ages, rates of dementia are expected to climb, but yet doctors have few effective strategies to address symptoms. A new study from the Canadian Medical Association Journal suggests that medication and supplements aren’t the answers for many seniors in maintaining brain function into old age, but that mental and cognitive exercises show the most promise.

Mild cognitive impairment, in which older adults show lapses in memory and other mental functions that aren’t serious enough to impair their daily activities, affects about 10% to 20% of those over age 70. Each year, about 10% of these people will progress to develop dementia, a more serious form of impairment that can drastically affect their independence. In the study that reviewed global research dating back to the 1960’s it was found that seniors that did mental exercises saw greater improvement and less developed dementia that those that were treated with medication or supplements.

Puzzles, memory games, and activities that challenge the mind were shown to have amazing positive benefits for the seniors in the study over the long term. It helps to look at your brain like any other muscle in your body and that it also needs to be exercised.

Take time to challenge your brain and have some fun. If you have relatives who are seniors, join them for an afternoon doing a jigsaw puzzle, or introduce them to simple to learn computer games. You’ll be spending quality time with someone who love, helping them, and helping your brain in the long term too stay as sharp as it can be.

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