Senior cognitive health refers to thinking clearly, learning, and remembering well. This is important for people of all ages but especially vital to seniors as our cognitive health generally declines with age.
But never fear! There are many cognitive health solutions to improve seniors’ overall health and help them live life to its fullest.
Eating Healthy Food
Eating healthy foods that are linked to brainpower is one of the best ways to improve or maintain your cognitive health. Following a balanced and healthy diet can not only improve your cognitive functions but also improve your overall health. There are many healthy brain foods to choose from, including:
Fatty fish is an excellent source of omega-3 fatty acids, which your brain uses to build brain and nerve cells and are essential to learning and memory. Research also suggests that it may help ward off Alzheimer’s disease and help prevent cognitive decline. Salmon, cod, canned tuna, and pollack are all excellent choices for a good source of omega-3 fatty acids.
If you don’t like fish, supplements are also a good option. Our bodies don’t create these fatty acids naturally, so it’s essential to work them into your diet or take supplements. The best omega-3 supplement for seniors comes in a gel pill form that can easily be taken like any medication. There are many options available, so make sure to consult your doctor for the best type and dosage for you.
Green leafy vegetables like spinach, broccoli, kale, and collards are rich in good nutrients like vitamin K, lutein, folate, and beta carotene. Vitamin K has been linked to better cognitive health in seniors. These foods are also rich in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories that help protect the brain against damage.
Coffee and Tea
Coffee and tea may also help improve cognitive function. Caffeine is associated with better mental function, solidifying new memories, and improving short- and long-term concentration. Both are high in antioxidants, which prevent or slow damage to cells. Studies have also shown that both coffee and tea may reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s and Parkinson’s disease.
Green tea specifically is high in L-theanine, an amino acid that can help reduce anxiety.
Berries, especially dark-colored ones like blueberries, are high in antioxidants and anti-inflammatories. They have been shown to improve communication between brain cells and may improve memory and cognitive processing. It’s recommended to have a certain amount of berries included in your diet, but consult a doctor to find out what that is, since it’s unique to different individuals
Nuts, especially walnuts, are a great source of protein and healthy fats. Walnuts are high in an omega-3 fatty acid called alpha-linolenic acid, which has been shown to lower blood pressure and help maintain cleaner arteries. Walnuts have also been shown to improve memory!
Cognitive Health Solutions
There are other ways to improve cognitive health besides diet.
Brain exercises have been shown to improve long-term cognitive function. Any activities that engage the brain in new and different methods may help prevent age-related degeneration. These can include games, music, or even dance. Testing your memory or completing a puzzle exercise on part of your brain. And learning to dance or play an instrument might work an entirely different part of your brain. But as long as you think and learn, it keeps your brain active. Some brain exercises for memory, creativity, and cognition include:
- Memory games
- Crossword puzzles
- Jigsaw Puzzles
- Chess and Checkers
- Video games
- Learning a new language
- Listening to music
- Learning an instrument
Other Ways to Help
Sometimes diet and exercises are not enough, and you may have to ask for help from a doctor.
There are programs available that can help. Senior Whole Health is a health insurance program designed to support seniors as they age and face new and different health problems. There are also programs available to help with behavioral health for seniors. Behavior health problems might include depression caused by isolation, chronic conditions, or limited mobility. Living with chronic health problems and declining cognitive function is complex, but help is available. Check with your doctor and ask about behavior health programs in your area if you have any concerns or questions.
Meal Delivery Services
With healthy meals delivered to your door, you can count on a balanced meal every time. And the meal plans are rotated so that your diet always has a variety. Having meals delivered can also ease the stress in seniors’ lives, as some seniors cannot travel to the grocery store or prepare their own meals. Having meals delivered to their house helps seniors maintain their independence and dignity.