Maintaining cognitive abilities can combat neural decline from aging. With the prominence of dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other neurological diseases, keeping your brain sharp and functional can help you maintain your health through aging.
Many people don’t realize the significance of neuroplasticity. This term refers to the brain’s ability to adapt, form new connections, and learn in new situations throughout our lives.
While we foster strong cognitive abilities in children and young adults, middle-aged and older adults can easily fall into comfortable routines that promote cognitive decline. However, it’s even possible for people of these ages to sharpen their cognitive functioning.
For older adults suffering from serious neurological conditions, assisted living for mentally ill people provides an excellent care community and treatment option. These facilities offer increased care, support, and treatment for low-functioning mental illness patients. Residing in these facilities can significantly improve their quality of life.
Different Types of Cognitive Abilities
Brain functions impact every decision and experience in our lives. Understanding the main categories of cognitive abilities can demonstrate the importance of neurological maintenance at every age.
Attention relates to your ability to focus on short- and long-term activities. Whether you’re pursuing a project, doing homework, or actively watching a television program, your attention level impacts your depth of engagement with these stimuli.
Many cognitive tasks involve short- and long-term memory functions. Furthermore, memory is one of the most essential mental abilities to sharpen and focus as you age. Memory problems can result from diseases like dementia and Alzheimer’s or just from aging.
Your processing speed depends on the speed of mental activity necessary to interpret information and new experiences. Faster processors can quickly make new connections and recall information pertinent to their current situation. Brain games and exercises can significantly improve your processing speed.
Auditory and Visual Processing
Auditory and visual processing relate to your ability to engage with new audio or image-based information at a given moment. These cognitive abilities impact a person’s active listening, reading abilities, and visual interpretation skills. As a result, enhancing your audio and visual processing may be necessary to thrive in certain careers.
Logic and Reasoning
Logic and reasoning provide the basis for your problem-solving abilities. Highly logical thinkers understand how to empathize with a perspective or think systematically about a problem to find a solution. Reasoning skills impact a person’s ability to demonstrate evidence and persuade others to see their perspective.
Eight Ways to Improve Cognitive Abilities
Luckily, your cognitive abilities can improve by engaging in constructive mental activity. The following eight activities and lifestyle changes can help improve your cognitive abilities at any age.
1. Exercise More
Did you know that exercise provides a primary method of improving your cognitive abilities? Physical activity boosts blood flow to the hippocampus, which improves memory.
Aerobic exercises and cardio can also prevent brain tissue density loss as you age. Furthermore, exercise increases focus and concentration during stressful situations while improving problem-solving and mental recall. Even 30 minutes of walking a day can significantly improve mental outcomes.
2. Try New Things
Cognitive maintenance requires the formation of new connections in the brain. Picking up a new skill or hobby forces your brain to learn and adapt to an unfamiliar situation.
Try learning an instrument, planting a garden, learning a language, or attending an art museum. Even these small and sometimes brief activities can improve attention, focus, and clarity.
3. Eat Healthy and Sleep Adequately
Your diet and sleep patterns play an essential role in sharpening your cognitive abilities. Quality nutrition can improve every organ in your body, including your brain. Eat plentiful fruits, vegetables, and animal-based proteins for appropriate brain fuel.
Sleeping at least seven hours a night offers a primary mode of avoiding cognitive decline. Studies show that chronic sleep deprivation increases your chances of developing dementia and Alzheimer’s while decreasing daily mental functioning. Drinking and smoking can also reduce the efficacy of your sleep and reduce the positive impacts of a seven-hour rest.
4. Become More Active in Your Life
Actively engaging in your life fosters healthier mental functioning. Take note of your level of engagement, even during passive activities. For example, try actively listening during conversations, analyzing television shows as you watch, or observing the world more.
5. Remove Stressors
Removing stressors in your life can significantly improve your cognitive abilities. Avoid relationships and situations that don’t empower your self-actualization and mental fortuity. Surround yourself with people and stimuli that make you feel loved, accepted, and cared for to thrive.
6. Practice Focus and Mindfulness
Mindfulness, focus, and meditation practices all increase focus, attention, and self-awareness. Many mindfulness practices also encourage emotional awareness, which can help you identify stressors that might be inhibiting your mental wellness.
Certain exercises like yoga and pilates offer an intersection between physical activity and mindfulness. These activities offer a multi-faceted method of cognitive maintenance.
7. Choose Brain-Exercising Activities
Certain activities offer more stimulation for your brain than others. For example, reading, playing a musical instrument, writing, puzzles, and strategy games require higher levels of cognitive involvement and mental sharpening. Although you may not have hours to set aside for these activities, taking small breaks throughout your day to read a book or play your favorite song on the piano can benefit your brain.
8. Use a Brain Training Program
Certain brain-training programs like Luminosity provide structured games and activities designed to improve your mental functioning. Enrolling in these programs gives you a weekly schedule of brain exercises and data. Many studies show that Luminosity and similar programs offer even more significant cognitive benefits than activities like sudoku or crossword puzzles.
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If you or a loved one is an adult with bipolar disorder, alternative care options like assisted living facilities may improve treatment outcomes and quality of life. For more information on sharpening cognitive abilities at any age or to explore assisted living facilities for mental illness, call Individual Care of Texas at (325) 675-5100, or Highland Assisted Living at (903) 356-4526 today.