Six keys to a healthy brain and quality of life

Sep 8th, 2021 | By | Category: Lifestyles

Nobody ever sees their brain, but conscious efforts to keep it in shape are a key to healthy aging.

With Healthy Aging Month in September as a backdrop, an “aging expert” explains that longevity and a healthy aging process all start with the brain.

In her work with older adults, Amy Cameron O’Rourke, a professional care manager for 40 years and author of “The Fragile Years,” has found that longevity and healthy aging start with the brain. She says six things are the most effective in keeping the brain in shape, which in turn supports the best possible quality of life:

  1. Multitasking physically and mentally, including activities such as walking and talking with a friend.
  2. Staying socially engaged. Isolation is a predictor of memory loss. When you’re older, there is a higher risk of isolation and less social interaction. Staying socially engaged keeps the brain working and helps give a sense of purpose.
  3. Maintaining a healthy diet. There is a high correlation between diabetes and dementia, as well as obesity and dementia. Eating a more plant-based diet can help prevent all three.
  4. Taking care of hearing loss, a condition that is also correlated to early memory loss.
  5. Expressing and being in touch with your emotions. Anecdotally, people who don’t confront their emotions develop memory loss and decreased alertness, much more than those who are emotionally aware.
  6. Avoiding anesthesia whenever possible. Anesthesia is known to cause memory loss. When considering surgery, weigh the pros and cons. Benefits of surgery decrease after the age of 80, so it might be wise to favor memory and cognitive health over the surgery.