Most people grow up understanding their cognitive abilities will decrease at some point, but new research could be challenging that concept. One study presented at the 2017 Cognitive Aging Summit has shown that people known as “SuperAgers” might be resistant to the rate of cognitive decline that most other seniors experience. While there is no way to prevent age-related cognitive decline permanently, some SuperAgers over the age of 80 have the same mental abilities as middle-aged adults.
Sometimes the changes associated with cognitive decline can affect a senior’s quality of life, and he or she may require a caregiver’s assistance. The home care services Boca Raton, FL, seniors need can vary. Some need assistance a few hours a day, while others require more extensive around-the-clock assistance. At Home Care Assistance, we tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual care needs, and the plans can be adjusted at any time.
What Is a SuperAger?
This term was first coined by Emily Rogalski, the director of neuroimaging at Northwestern University’s Cognitive Neurology & Alzheimer’s Disease Center. As one of the senior researchers for these studies, Rogalski discovered that SuperAgers lost brain volume at a much slower rate than other older adults. When their episodic memory was tested and compared to other subjects, they often did just as well as adults in their 40s and 50s. While normal seniors lose around 2.24 percent of their brain mass every year, SuperAgers lose an average of just 1.06 percent.
These researchers are still not quite sure why some seniors can prevent severe cognitive decline. One of the leading theories is that the average SuperAger has a thicker cortex, which could potentially play a role in mental abilities and the rate of memory loss. A clear example of this is the SuperAger Donald Tenbrunsel, who just turned 89 and continues to read, travel, volunteer, adapt to new technology, and learn new skills.
Moderate to Severe Cognitive Decline
Everyone is going to experience some degree of cognitive decline at some point, but many seniors develop disorders that affect their memory in a short time. Conditions such as Alzheimer’s often result in severe cognitive decline within just one or two years. SuperAgers have extremely low rates of dementia-related disorders, which is just one of the reasons researchers continue to study them. They are searching for the biological and environmental factors that impact a person’s brain past the age of 60. Being able to identify those factors could play a major role in preventing dementia.
In addition to dementia, seniors can face a variety of other challenges as they age. If your elderly loved one is living with a serious medical condition and needs help managing the tasks of daily living, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a Boca Raton home care agency you can trust. Our caregivers are available 24/7, there are no hidden fees in our contracts, and we offer a 100% satisfaction guarantee on all of our in-home care services.
Boosting Brain Health
There is still quite a bit of research left to do, but most doctors agree on at least a few of the factors that impact age-related cognitive decline. Older adults who remain mentally active can boost their brain health, reduce their risk of dementia, and even enhance their outlook on life. Harsh chemicals like cigarettes and alcoholic drinks negatively impact cognitive health, and some of the toxins in those products even kill brain cells. Just like any other muscle in the body, it is important to challenge the brain as often as possible and prevent toxins from damaging the cells.
A few simple actions taken daily can help keep the brain sharp and ward off cognitive decline in the golden years. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Boca Raton, FL, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. For high-quality senior home care services, call Home Care Assistance at (561) 826.9282 today.