Diet and Stress: Do They Control Brain Health?
Well into the twenty-first century, Americans are living longer, healthier lives. It is now quite typical for seniors to live beyond their 80s and 90s, often fairly independently. They are managing their health and their diets, and by staying active, many are enjoying an excellent quality of life.
However, getting older can be stressful if you are not able to be as active as you once were in your younger days. Can diet and exercise actually affect your ability to think clearly as you age, and therefore affect your overall health and well being?
The Senior Population is Increasing
Thanks to advances in medicine and other health sciences, people are living longer than ever before. In the last several decades, the American population of people over the age of 65 has steadily increased. We even have a bigger population of seniors over the age of 80, and by 2050, according to the United States census, about 37 percent of the population will be between the ages of 65 and 85. This means, a significant number of aging individuals will need specialized care, including nursing homes, assisted living facilities, and ways to manage health long into the twilight years.
Effects of Diet on Brain Function
Americans are living longer, but we have also seen an increase in people with diabetes in the last decade. Obesity has become a common problem for many, and this disease is a direct result of poor diet and lack of exercise. As we age, it becomes harder to maintain an active lifestyle, especially if you are overweight.
Additionally, poor nutrition and consuming junk food leads to the need for higher cognitive function to complete simple tasks. In other words, it takes more mental and physical effort to do something when you are obese than it does when you maintain a healthier weight. Years of bad eating habits can take their toll on seniors by making it much harder for them to get around and they may need assistance with mobility for daily living.
Effects of Stress on Brain Health and Independent Living
Other seniors who need specialized care are ones that have trouble with memory loss. Recent studies have indicated that chronic stress levels have a significant impact on brain function. The studies suggest that the dramatic changes that take place in our brains when we are stressed are actually linked to our emotional well being and scattered memory functions. As we age, this can become a big problem and lead to a decreased ability to live independently.
Assisted Living Facilities Can Help
If you have an aging loved one who is struggling with diabetes or memory loss and the challenges associated with living under those circumstances, an assisted living facility may be able to minimize stress levels for both the senior and his or her family members.With such an increase in older Americans over the last several decades, there are many different senior living care facilities to choose from, and some even have a special environment for the memory-impaired population.
For example one facility that specializes in memory care in Georgia provides nutritional options, as well as audio and aroma therapy regimens, games, and other stimulating activities that promote a healthy stress-free lifestyle.
Taking care of our aging loved ones is becoming a major concern for many adults today. In addition to teaching our children how to take care of their health, we are also faced with teaching our aging parents to do the same. It can be a daunting task, but ultimately will be well worth the investment of time, resources, love, and support.
Writer LaGeris Underwood Bell is a baby boomer and small business owner who is learning how much good health management impacts good business management. A former resident of the Peach State, she found assisted living facilities which also offer memory care in Georgia to be tremendously beneficial.
Photo credit: http://www.flickr.com/photos/hey__paul/8106410440/
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