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:
- Improve your health with a buddy.
- A plant-based diet, with moderate amounts of fish and dairy has also been linked to a reduced risk of cognitive impairment.
- Research suggests that walkable communities are good for memory.
- In contrast, a Cochrane review of many studies found no cognitive improvement resulting from taking vitamin B6 supplements.
- New research reveals that increased Social Security income helps memory and mental function.
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.