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Healthy Aging Archive
Doing multiple types of activities improves cognitive health
Studies have shown that doing any one of certain activities, such as staying physically active and maintaining social ties, helps maintain brain health in older adults. A new study suggests that participating in multiple kinds of these activities, several times a week, may help even more.
Three moves for functional fitness
Older adults can benefit from functional fitness exercises—those that focus on the muscles needed for basic everyday actions, like squatting, bending, reaching, and twisting. An all-around exercise routine that addresses the major muscle groups is ideal for improving functional fitness. Still, people should add specific exercises that mimic basic movements, such as getting up and down from the ground or a seated position, bending down and lifting objects, and carrying heavy or bulky items.
Improving vision may help prevent dementia
A recent analysis found a link between vision loss and higher risk of dementia. The results suggest improving visual acuity, such as with eyeglasses or cataract removal, might help maintain cognitive fitness in older adults.
Understanding sex drive
Men’s sex drive can wane and fluctuate with age, but that does not mean they still cannot enjoy a healthy and satisfying sex life. The goal to working with a changing sex drive is to focus more on the non-physical side of sex, which can help reignite the sexual spark for both people in the relationship. Examples include more romantic touching with your partner, communicating about each other’s needs, and experimenting with different sex routines and practices.
Living longer, without dementia
A study published online April 13, 2022, by The BMJ found that those age 65 or older who regularly practiced numerous healthy lifestyle habits lived longer and had fewer years with dementia than those who practiced one or no healthy lifestyle factors.
Spotting memory loss in a loved one
It can be hard to detect a potentially serious type of memory loss in a loved one, especially if small cognitive changes occur over time. It may help to note memory slips that happen consistently or those that seem uncharacteristic for the person. Tracking incidents on a calendar may also help reveal patterns. Potential incidents include consistently forgetting a close family member’s name, important conversations, words for everyday objects, bills that are due, medication times or doses, or routes home from familiar places. Other common issues are frequently having trouble at work, making financial mistakes, or taking medications incorrectly.
Why do I shrink in height as I age?
Around age 40, most people lose some height, and the decline accelerates with age. This "shrinkage" can be slowed by preventing osteoporosis and improving posture. Getting enough calcium and vitamin D can help increase bone density, and exercises for the back and abdominal muscles can help with posture.
A new angle on aging in place: The virtual village
A virtual village is a group of older adults who live in their own homes, near each other, and agree to help each other. They form a self-governing nonprofit organization and volunteer to provide village services such as transportation, friendly visits, errands, exercise and social events, a dedicated hotline, and referrals to vetted services and suppliers. The village won’t replace an assisted living facility or nursing home, but it may help delay the transition.
I’m too young to have Alzheimer’s disease or dementia, right?
Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia are something we think of as diseases of old age. Memory loss is a common symptom, and something that people in midlife also experience — but young onset dementia is very uncommon.
Cognitive effects in midlife of long-term cannabis use
As more US states have legalized recreational cannabis or passed medical cannabis laws, public perception that cannabis is a harmless substance is growing. But its long-term benefits and risks remain unclear, and research has revealed consistently that heavy long-term cannabis use can affect cognition in midlife.
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