Aging is a topic that I am very familiar with because most of my social work career has been spent working with seniors. Because of that this article caught my attention and am excited to share with you what I learned from it.
The article is named ‘New study finds 6 ways to slow memory decline and lower dementia risk’ and was written by Annabelle Timsit, in the Washington Post. You can read the full article at the link below!
A Study of Hope
There was a recent study in China that took place over a ten year period. The goal of the study was to see if lifestyle and healthy behaviors decreased cognitive decline. There were 29,000 seniors that participated in this 10 year study, which is amazing!! I find it incredible for any study to gather so much data from so many people in such a long period of time!
There were six factors that they looked at to see if they impacted memory decline:
- Physical Exercise: Doing at least 150 minutes of moderate exercise weekly
- Eating a Balanced Diet: at least 7 of these 12 food items fruits, vegetables, fish, meat, dairy products, salt, oil, eggs, cereals, legumes, nuts and tea.
- Alcohol Intake: Not at all or occasionally
- Smoking: never have smoked or a former smoker
- Cognitive Exercise: at least twice a week
- Social Contact: engaging with others twice a week
The study grouped people by how many of these factors they engaged in. The first group engaged in four of the six factors, the second group engaged in two to three factors, and the last group engaged in zero to one of the factors.
The study found that the group that engaged in four to six factors experienced less cognitive decline then those in the other two groups. Annabelle Timsit wrote:
“The results show that “more is better of these behaviors,” says Hogervorst — in other words, the more healthy lifestyle factors you can combine, the better your chances of preserving your memory and staving off dementia.”Annabelle Timsit, 2023
The study even found that people who had genetic predisposition towards memory loss and Alzheimer’s were seeing less cognitive decline when increasing these healthy behaviors!! I love this because it gives hope that we can make choices that help use to age well and keep our brain thriving!
Are there any of these six behaviors that you plan to increase or focus on in your life?
Timsit, A. (2023). “New study finds 6 ways to slow memory decline and lower dementia risk” Washington Post. https://www.washingtonpost.com/wellness/2023/01/26/dementia-memory-loss-lifestyle-habits/