Relationships & Connections Archive


The mental powers of super-agers

Older adults known as super-agers have cognitive function similar to that of young people. Experts believe this is because their brains shrink at a much slower rate, which may be the result of genetics or lifestyle habits or both. While people can't alter their genes, it could be possible to slow their natural brain decline by adopting some super-ager habits, like being physically active, pursuing mentally challenging hobbies, eating a diet rich in inflammation-fighting foods, and engaging with social groups.

Getting the most from your remaining years

Following healthy habits like exercising, eating a proper diet, and being socially engaged can help people live a longer, healthier life. Still, the ultimate goal is not simply to live longer, but to enjoy life, which means placing more emphasis on quality of life. How life quality is defined can vary depending on people's goals, but it often revolves around three certain mindsets: having a sense of purpose, focusing on where one wants to devote time and energy, and enjoying the process and journey.

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.

The little things that can improve your health

In addition to major healthy lifestyle habits, such as exercising and eating a healthy diet, it's important to practice lots of little healthy habits throughout the day. Some should be observed every 30 minutes, such as taking a quick activity break and drinking a little water. Other habits, such as having a healthy snack or using eye drops, can be done every few hours. And some healthy habits help if practiced even just once a day, such as learning something new, chatting with someone outside of the household, or meditating.

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.

What to do when your kids confront you about your health

When adult children express concerns about their parents' health, it benefits the parents to consider them. It could be that the kids are observing symptoms of conditions best treated early. If parents disagree with their kids' concerns, experts advise that parents simply express appreciation for the feedback and say they'll think about what the kids have said. If the parents want more information, experts advise writing down the concerns and either calling the doctor or bringing the matter up at the next appointment.

Social isolation and loneliness add up to higher heart risks

Social isolation and loneliness are other significant risk factors for cardiovascular disease in older women.

Get back your social life to boost thinking, memory, and health

Staying socially active is associated with cognitive benefits and may play a role in longevity, stress reduction, and controlling mood. If a person has been out of touch with friends for a long time, one way to restart contact is to send a brief message asking how they're doing or recalling a shared activity. If the person reciprocates, the next step might be to suggest a meeting, ask to get together, or schedule a catch-up phone call or video chat.

Harvard study: Fish oil doesn’t prevent depression

A large, randomized Harvard study published online Dec. 21, 2021, by JAMA found that taking fish oil supplements didn’t prevent depression in otherwise healthy older adults.

Shield your brain from decline

The acronym SHIELD sums up the habits that may help ward off cognitive decline. SHIELD stands for sleeping at least seven hours per night, handling stress, interacting with friends, exercising daily, learning new things, and eating a healthy diet. Ideally, one should incorporate all of these healthy lifestyle habits into each day. If that feels overwhelming, doctors advise focusing on a different healthy habit per day, until it’s possible to practice all of the habits every day.

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