7 Ways For Older Adults To Boost Cognitive Fitness and Longevity

Written by Holly Klamer

Recent studies show that reduced cognitive function may shorten life expectancy, according to Huffington Post. Based on the analysis, it can cause one to age prematurely.

While the majority of people today typically associate “cognitive development” to young individuals, experts said older people must also develop their cognitive functions. Not only that it may boost longevity but, it can also reduce the risk of further premature aging.

By making certain lifestyle choices, every older adult can, indeed, boost cognitive fitness. Here are some of the best and effective ways to do it:

  • Exercise to Improve Cognitive Function

Everyone already knows the importance of exercising regularly. But, aside from the physical benefits, having an exercise routine can boost cognitive functions, which eventually benefits one’s longevity.

Based on studies, exercising increases blood circulation, particularly in the hippocampus. This is the part of the brain that is responsible for memory.

Another reason why exercising helps is due to the reduction of tissue density loss in the brain. Studies found out that people who are “aerobically fit” possess better cognitive functioning. This is likely one of the reasons why all senior assisted living homes and facilities include exercises and physical activities in their respective daily schedules.

  • Improving Cognitive Function Through Engagement

Whether it is engagement with new skills or activities, several new pieces of literature suggest that older individuals who engage themselves in a variety of activities show improvements in their cognitive functions. Reports, however, noted that the benefits of these engagements depend on the quality of the activity and the experience.

But, regardless, older individuals can expect improvements, especially when the activities and engagements are “entirely novel.” Therefore, experts today encourage seniors and adults to try new activities and engage with them on a daily basis.

  • Play Board Games and Card Games

Some Alzheimer’s care facilities for seniors in recent times have included various kinds of activities, like games and puzzles, in their schedules. Some institutions attest to the positive effects of these avenues in “stimulating” cognitive functions.

Alongside the great benefits to the further development of the brain, these kinds of pursuits also promote enjoyment among the elderly. It makes total sense why caregivers resort to providing board and card games, especially for seniors with dementia. Some great board and card games include checkers, scrabble, bingo, and monopoly.

  • Take Up a New Hobby

Taking up new hobbies is another effective way to boost cognitive fitness, which then leads to better longevity. Experts recommend elderly individuals to learn new things, like antiquing, gardening, raising pets, or even learning to play musical instruments.

Whether it may be a self-learning activity or a class led by experts, new hobbies and activities help develop new connections between neurons. Studies conclude that this helps offset cell loss due to conditions and even aging alone.

  • Use Memory Tricks

Using memory tricks is another way to boost cognitive functions. This is very helpful, especially for older adults who are suffering from memory problems.

Here are some tricks that will get you started:

  • Making a list

Making a list helps improve memory, not only for people who have memory-related concerns but, to everyone, as well. The act of categorizing and organizing thoughts on a piece of paper makes remembering them much easier. Not to mention, the act of writing the thoughts further helps reinforce the mind.

  • Discovering the “whys”

Thinking and understanding the “why” of something helps one to strengthen memory. It gives the connection to the main purpose of that something, which makes it more memorable.

  • Breaking it down

Another best trick for memory concerns is breaking all the information down into much simpler terms. For instance, remembering a six-digit number might be a challenge for older individuals. Instead of memorizing it all at once, breaking it down to three digits per try will be much more helpful. There is actually a reason phone numbers are divided into smaller bits.

  • Mnemonics help

Mnemonics is another trick that everybody can do. In almost every field of study and discipline, traditional mnemonics are rampant. These are patterns of letters, ideas, and/or associations that make something more memorable. One great example of this is the seven colors of the rainbow: ROY G BIV.

  • Reading

Reading is a great way to exercise the brain. Neuroscientists found out that reading novels and other materials improves several brain functions on a variety of levels.

While reading, in general, helps, research suggests that novels particularly enhance the “connectivity” patterns in the brain, resulting in a more improved brain. The activity also flexes the imagination, which further stimulates other functions of the brain.

  • Social Connections

Aside from engaging in different hobbies and activities, engaging with other people also helps boost cognitive functions, which results in better longevity, which has also been known to prevent dementia. Making social connections not only stimulates the brain but, also, helps the mind, emotion, and will.

Moreover, studies have identified that the primary health consequences of loneliness trigger the further decline of psychological and cognitive functions.

Final Thoughts

All in all, these are the seven of the best and most effective ways to improve cognitive functions. As noted, the lesser risk of cognitive decline, the better life expectancy one can have. So, as much as possible, get the mind and brain active on a regular basis. Preventing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease will help older adults avoid the need for memory care homes down the road.

4 Common Pre-Retirement Mistakes

Written by Richard Parker

Retirement is a period most of us can’t wait to get to, but the journey can be bumpy. In fact, the journey can throw up more than a few roadblocks – all of which can contribute to a difficult retirement life.

Mistakes happen through the course of life and to suggest that the decades leading up to retirement will be void of them would be unrealistic. However, today is all about pinpointing some of the most common ones which can leave people’s retirement dreams in tatters.

You don’t think of the big, retirement picture

One of the biggest mistakes we see across the retirement spectrum is people exclusively focused on the here and now. They have set expectations and are under the impression things will never change.

Well, here’s a newsflash, they turn on their head. The good news is some will be eradicated (with the mortgage usually falling into such a category), but by the same token you’ll have some new ones to deal with. For example, as difficult as the subject might be, you should look at how to pay for potential care as you get older, and even funeral fees. It’s the unplanned for extras like this which add up and distort your mortgage-free retirement living.

You don’t max out your pension

We are taught from a young age that there is no such thing as free money. Well, when it comes to pensions, we disagree.

Most companies will match your pension contributions. Instead of investing the bare minimum, invest a little more so your company will do the same. This is money that you can accumulate for years to come and with the power of compound interest, this can be invaluable.

You don’t invest

Following on from the previous point, you need to think about investing. We are by no means suggesting you start to act like Warren Buffett, but at least think broader about your financial plans.

Most think they are doing the right thing by saving money and this is absolutely a good start. However, the interest rates on savings accounts are low, and these accounts will be dwarfed by long-term funds which tend to yield much better returns. Is there an element of risk? There always is. If you turn to a reputable financial planner, or even conduct your own due diligence, you can mitigate these risks somewhat and provide yourself with a much stronger retirement nest egg.

You only think about money

So far, we’ve only spoken about money. In fact, when it comes to retirement, most people do just plan for the financial impact.

As we have already noted, your financial situation will turn on its head during this period of your life. By the same token, it is important not to ignore other areas of your life. As well as your finances, your routine is going to be completely overridden and you’ll suddenly need to fill your time. As welcome as it might initially sound, some people struggle immensely with this and find it really difficult to adjust to a life of disposable time.

Best Forms of Exercise for Those Over 50

Written by John Moran

There was a time when the phrase “50 is the new 40” created scandalized waves through media outlets and lifestyle magazines. But thanks to the work against ageism and improved ability to understand physiology, age is only a number for those who want to live their life to the fullest.

If you are over 50 and want to maintain your fitness, you can try plenty of fun and exciting ways to dabble into a safe exercise regime. Depending upon your preference, you can choose between various activities to keep yourself healthy without increasing your risk of injuries.

From donning a prescription dive mask to running on a treadmill, here are the best forms of exercise for those over 50.

Use a Prescription Dive Mask to Swim Underwater

If you live near a coastal area, you can find nearby diving spots to experience adventure sports safely and healthily. All you need is basic training and equipment to take underwater dives, and you will be able to take in unique sights of fishes and coral reefs while maintaining your fitness.

Just in case you wear prescription glasses: you don’t need to worry about exchanging your clear sight for an underwater dive. With unique masks for corrected vision, you can clearly see under the water without compromising your safety or overall experience.

Get a Professional Treadmill For Your Cardio

If you don’t have any underlying health conditions that limit your mobility, getting sufficient cardio should be one of your main goals. The best part? You don’t have to move mountains to achieve this objective. You can take regular walks to get your required exercise.

Since the risk of muscle and tendon-related injuries increases with age, it’s ideal to find an even surface to perform your daily jogs. With its comfortable yet sturdy build, a high-quality treadmill fulfills this objective without putting your body through undue stress.

Wear Comfortable Shoes for Dancing

If you want to go the prescription dive mask route but do an activity on land, you can turn to dance shoes. With the ability to enjoy comfortable yet fun dance forms, you can quickly get your exercise while swaying to your favorite music.

There are plenty of dance classes that cater to older adults. But if you don’t want to risk going into a crowd, you can check online videos and tutorials to dance in your living room. Just make sure to wear flexible shoes and stay away from uneven surfaces, so you prevent the risk of unnecessary injuries.

Get a High-Quality Bike for Cycling

Miss the outdoors but don’t want to risk running on bumpy roads? Try cycling instead. With the right bike, helmet, and protective equipment, you can easily enjoy a ride through your neighborhood or your local bike trail. This is not much different from using a prescription dive mask for an optimal experience.

Cycling helps you strengthen your bones, abs, and muscles. But it doesn’t stop there. It also enables you to improve your balance and reflexes over time. If you want to make the activity safer for yourself, you can invest in special bike models with added equipment.

By keeping these activities in mind, you can start enjoying your exercise instead of looking at it as a chore. This has a positive effect on your overall fitness and helps you get the most out of your free time.