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How Can the Aging Process Affect Mental Health in Older Adults?

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One of the most common side effects of the aging process is a decrease in mental faculties. While many adults remain sharp and quick-witted well into their senior years, most are going to experience at least some problems with their memory and reasoning skills. Luckily, these types of issues can sometimes be delayed or avoided entirely with proper lifestyle changes.

Natural Cognitive Decline

Even though recent studies have revealed the human brain is capable of creating healthy new cells at any age, the vast majority of seniors will face challenges with a few cognitive issues as they grow older. Various synapses and cell clusters naturally die off over the years, which can result in issues such as forgetfulness and difficulty learning new skills. While those changes are scary for some people, quite a bit can be done to preserve a senior’s cognitive health. Seniors can also take steps to reduce their risk of dementia and other cognitive disorders.

Understanding Cognitive Disorders

Many older adults and their caregivers have difficulty distinguishing between natural cognitive decline and a serious mental health disorder. As a general rule, age-related cognitive decline will take place over many years, and it won’t have a huge impact on daily life until a senior is much older. When older adults have cognitive disorders, they might notice sudden shifts in their mental health almost immediately. Within a year or two, they could begin to forget the names of loved ones or face difficulty with everyday tasks. In those situations, seniors should immediately seek out professional medical assistance. 

Caring for a senior loved one can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Colorado Springs Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.

Benefits of Mental Stimulation

Remaining mentally stimulated is one of the best things seniors can do for their overall health. When learning a new skill or focusing on a difficult task, the brain continues to produce healthy new cells and create new synapses. That type of stimulation could enhance almost all of a senior’s cognitive skills. Some of the activities seniors might want to try out include playing board games, learning new languages, reading, and journaling. Woodworking, knitting, and doing other activities that challenge multiple areas of the brain at once can be beneficial as well. 

A home caregiver can be a wonderful source of mental and social stimulation for your loved one. For families living in Colorado Springs, respite care can be a wonderful solution when their aging loved ones need companionship and socialization a few hours a week or just need minor assistance with daily household tasks. At Home Care Assistance, we thrive on helping seniors maintain their independence while living in the comfort of home.

Other Lifestyle Factors

Mentally stimulating activities are very important, but older adults must also keep a close eye on their physical health if they want to remain sharp. Factors such as diet and how much sleep they’re getting each night affect cognitive health. Studies continue to reveal exercise plays a major role in mental health as well, which is just one of the reasons seniors should try to exercise at least 20 or 30 minutes a day. Rigorous activities increase blood flow to the brain and trigger the production of key hormones and chemicals. 

Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of elderly home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Home Care Assistance can be your trusted partner when your loved one needs help with the challenges of aging. Call us today at (719) 822-1229 to learn about our high-quality in-home care services.