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Lifestyle changes could help reduce risk of memory loss as we age

Written by Diane Archer

Some estimates suggest that as many as one in five people over 65 have mild cognitive impairments. When these impairments are caused by medication side effects or depression, they can be reversed with treatment, Dementia cannot be reversed, but certain behaviors might forestall its onset. A recent Mayo Clinic study finds that lifestyle changes could help reduce the risk of memory loss as we age.  In addition to eating a healthy diet and exercising, participating in artistic activities could really help keep our minds from slipping.

Researchers at the Mayo Clinic found that people who engage in artistic activities in middle and older age had a 73 percent lower risk of developing a mild cognitive impairment. People who engaged in crafts had a 45 percent lower risk. People who socialized had a 55 percent lower risk. And, believe it or not, people who used a computer had a 53 percent lower risk.

By contrast, researchers found that having high blood pressure or suffering from depression in middle age increased the risk of developing a mild cognitive impairment.

The researchers studied 256 people with an average age of 87, who had neither memory or thinking problems when the study began. People over 85 represent the fastest growing age group in the United States. The full study is available online in the journal Neurology.

Here are more ways to reduce risk of memory loss and improve your health:

Visit www.eldercare.gov to find the area agency on aging (AAA) in the community. AAA’s can provide information on free and low-cost activity programs for adults 60 and older.

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2 Comments

  • IT COSTS $35 TO VIEW IT! THEY LOCK IT UP BEHIND A DARN SUBSCRIPTION! SOCIAL SECURITY RECIPIENTS LIKE MYSELF ARE TOO DANG POOR TO READ IT!

    “The researchers studied 256 people with an average age of 87, who had neither memory or thinking problems when the study began. People over 85 represent the fastest growing age group in the United States. The full study is available online in the journal Neurology.”

  • I currently live in a walkable/bikeable community with shopping and other services in easy reach and get out as often as I can. It really does make a big difference compared to being “cooped up:” in some “retirement” community out in the burbs with the same people day in and day out, where everything is spread out for miles, and one needs a car to get around on his/her own as transit is usually poor to nonexistent in outlying areas.

    Independent living is the key to staying healthy both mentally and spiritually and the best way that can be achieved is in neighbourhoods with a high “walkability” factor.

    Sadly where I live (Portland OR) rents in the city proper have gone out of control and are outpacing local wages by better than 2 to 1. For those on a fixed income such as Social Security, it is even worse as there is a critical shortage of low cost rentals in the inner city due to widespread upscale development/gentrification, a hard fixed urban growth boundary, and a metro administration more interested in “selling” the city to the rest of the nation as a “great place to come and live”. This has caused a “reverse migration” from 60 years ago where now it is the poor who are being forced to move to the burbs while those with money are calling the inner city home. Even the state seems to be on the side of the developers and rental management companies as there is a law on the books prohibiting any municipality or county from setting rent controls.

    Effectively to make what was once sleepy little Portland “liveable” and “desirable” for newcomers, the state, metro council and city administration are doing their best to make it economically “unliveable” for many of us who have resided in the city a good part of, if not all our lives.

    Portland isn’t the only city in the nation where this is occurring either, just one where this trend is rather new and become very disturbing.

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