Monday, July 22 2024 - 2:49 AM
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Delaying Dementia

My maternal grandmother was one of the most energetic women of her generation. She started a nursing home alongside her sisters and later managed a 100-acre farm mostly by herself. We kids loved her. Sometimes she was closer to me than my mother, and I always looked forward to having her visit us.

Unfortunately, by the time she was in her late 60s, my grandmother was suffering from the signs of early dementia, and by the time she was 75, she was institutionalized for her own safety. My mother, as she approached her 60th birthday, spent many precious hours worrying about how to keep from going down the same road of dementia. She completed scores of crossword puzzles, and when she took walks, she’d count fence posts to keep her mind stimulated. It must have worked because when she died at age 89, her mind was still sharp.

Study on Dementia

So, did my mother really help her memory by doing all the exercises? A study of 1,100 participants aged 65 and older found that people who regularly engaged in mentally stimulating activities may stave off the onset of dementia longer than people who don’t. Those activities can include reading, doing puzzles, and going to museums.

Participants in this study were followed for an average of 12 years. After six years, they received a full diagnostic evaluation for dementia. Researchers continued to track their cognitive functioning over the following six to nine years.

The Study’s Findings

“We found that highly-cognitive active individuals who had no cognitive impairment at the beginning of the study had declined less at the end,” says Robert Wilson, a neuropsychologist at Rush University Medical Center in Chicago, Illinois, in the Journal Neurology.

Activities that counted toward being “cognitively active” included going to a museum, watching television, listening to the radio, reading newspapers, reading magazines, reading books, and playing games.

Remember this as you age and encourage your friends and family who are elderly to keep engaging their minds. So, gather your friends, pull out your Scrabble game, and stimulate that brain!

If you liked this, you might also like A New State of Mind | 12 Things You Can Do to Help Prevent or Delay Dementia 

Dee Litten Whited writes from Virginia.

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About Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

Dee Litten Whited

writes from Virginia.

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