Cognitive Health and Older Adults Part 1
130123 Cognitive health — the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember — is an important component of performing everyday activities. Cognitive health is just one aspect of overall brain health.
What Is Brain Health?
Brain health refers to how well a person’s brain functions across several areas. Aspects of brain health include:
- Cognitive health — how well you think, learn, and remember
- Motor function — how well you make and control movements, including balance
- Emotional function — how well you interpret and respond to emotions (both pleasant and unpleasant)
- Tactile function — how well you feel and respond to sensations of touch — including pressure, pain, and temperature
Brain health can be affected by age-related changes in the brain, injuries such as stroke or traumatic brain injury, mood disorders such as depression, substance use disorder or addiction, and diseases such as Alzheimer’s disease. While some factors affecting brain health cannot be changed, there are many lifestyle changes that might make a difference.
A growing body of scientific research suggests that the following steps are linked to cognitive health. Small changes may really add up: Making these part of your routine could help you function better.
- Take Care of Your Physical Health
- Manage High Blood Pressure
- Eat Healthy Foods
- Be Physically Active
- Keep Your Mind Active
- Stay Connected with Social Activities
- Manage Stress
- Reduce Risks to Cognitive Health
Research shows that a combination of these healthy lifestyle behaviors may also reduce the risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
Take Care of Your Physical Health
Taking care of your physical health may help your cognitive health. You can:
- Get recommended health screenings.
- Manage chronic health problems like diabetes, high blood pressure, depression, and high cholesterol.
- Consult with your health care provider about the medicines you take and possible side effects on memory, sleep, and brain function.
- Reduce risk for brain injuries due to falls and other accidents.
- Limit use of alcohol (some medicines can be dangerous when mixed with alcohol).
- Quit smoking, if you currently smoke. Also avoid other nicotine products such as chewing tobacco.
Get enough sleep, generally seven to eight hours each night.