As we age, it’s important to make sure we stay intentional with the activities that help exercise our brain. There are a variety of activities that help improve your mental well-being as well as boost your mood. One of the best activities for exercising your brain is reading.
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Reading improves memory retention, reduces stress, improves decision-making abilities, improves sleep, and can even delay the onset of Alzheimer's and dementia. Let's take a look at five ways that reading can help seniors.
1. Improves Memory Retention
As we age, memory declines due to a number of different factors. Hormones and proteins that maintain and repair brain cells, as well as those that encourage neural development, drop as people become older. Reduced blood flow to the brain is common in the elderly, which can further impair memory and cause cognitive changes.
Reading exercises your memory, which is important for short-term recall in everyday situations. Reading is a mental enrichment activity that can help strengthen the brain and help with memory retention and learning.
2. Helps With Decision-Making Skills
With age, we gain life experience which can help guide our decision-making skills to a point. However, aging also diminishes working memory and fluid intelligence. As a result, our ability to make good decisions can become impaired over time.
Reading can help seniors strengthen their analytical and reasoning skills, which in turn helps sharpen decision-making skills. Reading can improve working memory and, as a result, sharpen our ability to make good decisions quickly.
3. Improves Sleep
As we age, it becomes increasingly harder to fall asleep and stay asleep. Changes in hormone production, such as melatonin and cortisol, may contribute to sleep disturbance in seniors. Melatonin, which is generally created in response to darkness and aids sleep by synchronizing circadian cycles, is diminished as our bodies age.
Reading in bed is one of the best ways to fall asleep. Watching TV is not a great way to fall asleep as it has been found to actually have the opposite effect. Whereas, creating a ritual such as reading is a great way to signal to your body that it is time to fall asleep.
4. Reduce Anxiety
Reading has been proven to reduce anxiety and stress. As we age, there are things that can create anxiety and stress such as medical conditions, both with ourselves as well as our loved ones. Reading can help calm the mind by redirecting your focus, if only for a few moments.
Reading can also help reduce your heart rate and muscle tension. This, in turn, can reduce the feelings of stress that you may be feeling. Losing yourself in a book is a great way to lose your troubles and your anxieties, if only for a short while.
5. Helps With Delayed Onset of Alzheimer's and Dementia
One of the cruelest diseases of old age is Alzheimer's and Dementia. Alzheimer's is a form of dementia, and both disorders can slowly strip away memories and experiences we have spent our lives collecting. One of the best things you can do to slow the progression of these disorders is to engage in brain-challenging activities, such as reading.
Reading helps to build a reserve of neuronal connection that slows the progression of the disorders. There is no cure for these disorders, but we know that slowing the progression is the next best thing.
At Jacaranda Trace, we look forward to visiting with you to discuss your retirement arrangements. Our retirement community nurtures your mental and physical well-being in a luxurious gated community. Contact us now to learn more about our facility and how we can help you live your best life.