Elder Care: Making Lasting Connections

As we age, we start to lose connections – mentally, physically, and socially. However, these connections are important to us to help keep us active, balanced, and healthy. Research has shown that grandparents have a massively positive influence on grandchildren, but that same benefit flows in reverse. Those familial connections help seniors stay youthful, the are more active, and they also are sharper cognitively due to the necessity to keep up with their grandchildren when it comes to technology.

Today’s seniors are living fuller, more active lives. And this is great! Activity is one best ways to reduce your risk of dementia.[1] Running after the grandkids (literally and figuratively!) is a good way top get blood pumping while bridging generations. Strength training as well as aerobic activity are key to ensuring those brain cells stay happy, healthy, and strong.

 

Speaking of brain cells – learning something new, whether a new language, skill, or something you have always thought you wanted to do is another great way to keep strong mentally. The rise of leisure education (it is a thing) is steep. It is more than flower arranging and birdwatching, you can also learn things like Mandarin, geocaching, and even motorcycle riding! There are so many activities that you will never run out of something to learn! And the cognitive benefits are huge. Consistently engaging the brain to make new connections helps to keep it healthy.

 

And while learning these activities, you also make new friends. Being socially active is not just good for the heart, but for the brain. Having friends to share life experiences with keeps the brain happy and staves off dementia. It has been found that people who feel socially isolated and lonely have a greater risk of dementia. Feeling land being lonely actively affects the brain in a most negative manner. Many of the chemicals the brain creates are not released when a person feels alone. These neurotransmitters are important to brain function, so creating connections with others is an important part to healthy brain function.

 

As you can see, making lasting connections in the brain means making lasting connections in the outside world. Staying active, mentally, physically, and socially helps to create and maintain a happy and healthy brain. The key to independence for aging seniors is to remain connected to others, continue learning, and be as active as possible.

[1] http://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0025619611652191