Our brain is the most fascinating part of the body. It controls many aspects, such as the thinking process, remembering, organizing, planning and making decisions. These cognitive abilities are what affect our everyday life and how we perform in every task. As you age, the capabilities of the brain start to diminish, and when you turn 65, these cognitive abilities make it difficult for you to live independently.
A few common changes that take place in your brain as you age include:
- Increased difficulty in recalling names and finding words
- Problems with multi-tasking
- Focusing hard to understand what the other person is talking about
- Unable to pay attention to certain things
While aging makes you worldlier, it does take a toll on your physical and mental health.
The Healthy, Older Brain
So, what happens to your brain as you age?
- Certain parts of your brain start to shrink, especially those that are connected to learning and performing complex mental activities
- Certain neurons stop communicating in the brain, which is what creates sluggish mental movements
- The blood flow in your brain decreases
- Inflammation occurs— a reaction caused by a disease or an injury
As compared to how adults function, a person aged above 65 processes things much more slowly. For example: a task of putting together a complex puzzle might be done by an adult in half hour, but someone older will take twice the time to complete the same challenge.
Healthy Aging Checklist
The key to keeping your brain healthy as you age is to prioritize the things that affect your mental motor in the first place. You need to constantly oil the bolts and make sure the wires are working properly. Alright, enough with the metaphors… let’s get down to business.
Following are a few ways to keep your brain healthy as you age:
Avoid Taking Brain-Slowing Medication
Certain medicines diminish your brain function and are even linked to having a high risk of Alzheimer’s. These medicines are usually for common health problems such as over-active bladder, anxiety, insomnia, allergies and vertigo. It is better to try different treatments and cognitive behavioral therapies to find relief. Medications that you should avoid include benzodiazepines, Z-drugs, anticholinergics, mood stabilizers and antipsychotics.
Avoid Sleep Deprivation
If your brain and body are not well rested, you will find it extremely difficult to function in any task. Sleep deprivation causes irritable mood and can even lead to insomnia. This causes a never ending cycle of anxiety, depression and physical health problems. Using sedatives to calm down your brain in order to induce sleep is what diminishes the quality of your brain.
Engage in Activities
The more social you are, the more active you will be! This gives you a deep sense of purpose and shows you that you still matter and are not alone. Ultimately, spending time with people with whom you are happy prevents cognitive decline.
Stay Physically Active
Exercise helps treats anxiety and depression. It gets your body pumping and keeps you energized throughout the day. So, pick out your favorite activity and do it on the weekends. It sure will be better than running on a treadmill in the gym!
So, there you go… four perfectly good reasons how certain things in your life are pushing you down mentally. The best way to take care of yourself as you age is by doing the same things that you did as an adult.