Like how we take care of our bodies, we also need to take care of our brain health. Mental decline, although an inevitable part of life, is real, especially among the elderly. Of course, we do not want to experience that while we are still young. Then again, mental decline might not always be due to old age.
That is why we should also pay attention to our mental health, no matter what age. A healthy mind can have a positive impact on our way of thinking and our overall perception of life. Likewise, it can increase our productivity and improve our relationships with other people. You can also try meditation and yoga retreats to improve your overall health.
Common causes and symptoms of mental decline
As mentioned, mental decline usually occurs among older adults. However, it can also occur among younger generations. Some can be in-born, while others can be due to certain factors such as stress and other personal issues. Even your diet and lifestyle can also affect your mental health.
Meanwhile, older people typically experience general cognitive decline as part of aging. However, some of them suffer more severe cases of cognitive decline, including Alzheimer’s disease or dementia. This mental condition can significantly affect a person’s memory, thinking, and judgment. In many cases, older people with dementia cannot remember their family members.
Like our physical bodies, our brains also get old as we age. One of the most common associations of old age is the tendency to be forgetful. But if this occurs frequently, the person likely has mild cognitive impairment (MCI). Aside from being forgetful, other signs of MCI are the following:
- You get stressed when making a decision or understanding a direction.
- You tend to get lost even if you are already familiar with a specific location.
- You tend to be impulsive in your decisions (and eventually regretting it in the end).
- Irritability, anxiety, and depression in worse cases
Aside from old age, other factors can put you at a higher risk of experiencing mental decline. Some of these factors include the following:
- Sedentary lifestyle
- Lack of physical and mental exercise
- High cholesterol and blood pressure levels
- Smoking and drinking alcohol
- Low educational attainment
- Poor social skills
How to avoid mental decline
Mental decline can happen even before you step into your senior years. That is why you should follow these tips to counter the effects of poor mental health.
- Have a healthy lifestyle. Engage in regular physical and mental exercises. Do crossword puzzles and jog around your neighborhood for at least 30 minutes.
- Eat healthy food. Experts say adapting a Mediterranean-based diet, which includes lots of fruits, vegetables, olive oil, and nuts, can boost your brain health.
- Avoid foods high in sugar and overcome vices such as smoking and excessive alcohol intake.
- Build a good peer circle to improve your social skills. It is said that having secure social networks can help in decreasing the risk of mental decline and ensure a longer lifespan.
Taking care of our health is essential not just to our bodies but also to our state of mind. The given pointers can help you achieve better mental health even in your senior years.