According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 Americans aged 65 or older may develop Alzheimer’s. For many years, researchers have been studying Alzheimer’s disease by observing seniors who already have it. A new point of view on this topic has recently come into play, and it’s all thanks to seniors known as SuperAgers.
SuperAgers: Who Are They, and What Can We Learn from Them?
A SuperAger is any person over the age of 80 with the same cognitive and memory abilities as a middle-aged person. Researchers at Northwestern University conducted a study and published their results in a JAMA article, “Rates of Cortical Atrophy in Adults 80 Years and Older with Superior vs. Average Episodic Memory,” and they’re now trying a different approach to tackling the Alzheimer’s issue. These researchers are studying the brains of SuperAgers to look for differences that may be allowing a SuperAger’s brain to function at a higher level.
During the study, researchers compared the brain volumes of SuperAgers with the brain volumes of average aging people. One of the most obvious differences they found was that the cortex, or outer layer of the brain, was significantly more intact. The cortex of the brain is essential to memory storage and cognitive abilities. In fact, overall brain volume reduced at a much slower pace for SuperAgers than it did for their peers. Due to this discovery, researchers have begun to see the importance of the cortex’s health and the role it could play in preventing dementia.
In addition to dementia, seniors can face a variety of other challenges in the golden years.
Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Centennial live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or recovering from a stroke, you can trust the professional live-in caregivers from Home Care Assistance to enhance his or her quality of life.
What Keeps a SuperAger’s Cortex in Shape?
Researchers are still trying to determine what causes deterioration in some cortices while others remain strong. Although the answer isn’t exactly clear yet, examiners believe it’s partly genetic and partly environmentally dependent. However, one of the most frequently hypothesized answers to keeping the cortex healthy is maintaining a strong level of physical and mental focus as often as possible.
Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional in-home care. Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
What Steps Can Be Taken to Strengthen the Cortex?
The more a person engages in problem solving, the healthier the cortex will be. Seniors should exercise regularly, eat healthy, and engage in brain exercises such as puzzles or brainteasers. Becoming involved on a social level can also boost brain functioning in the senior years.
Encouraging older adults to make healthier lifestyle choices can be challenging for some caregivers. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. Centennial families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. To hire a dedicated caregiver, call Home Care Assistance at (303) 957-3100 today.