It’s a widely known fact – cognition declines as we age. Processing speed, memory, executive functioning, and reasoning naturally decline with each passing year. The World Health Organization (WHO) estimates 82 million people will be diagnosed with some form of dementia by 2030. However, studies indicate we can help our brains stay healthy during our golden years by partaking in activities that challenge our minds.
What is Dementia?
According to the WHO, “dementia is a syndrome in which there is deterioration in memory, thinking, behaviour and the ability to perform everyday activities. Although dementia mainly affects older people, it is not a normal part of ageing.” Dementia produces a slow decline in cognitive skills. It can impact mood, memory, language, processing, and other functions the brain controls. While the severity of dementia ranges from patient to patient, it can impact one’s ability to live independently.
Alzheimer’s is the most common form of dementia, accounting for approximately 80% of dementia cases. Alzheimer’s Disease is a type of dementia that causes problems with thinking, memory, and behavior. Symptoms usually develop slowly and progress worse over time, becoming severe enough to interfere with daily tasks. As symptoms get worse and cognitive function declines, patients with alzheimer’s disease may require round the clock medical care.
Brain Training and Dementia
Brain training is based on the foundation that mental stimulation can improve neuroplasticity. Exercising your brain on a daily basis is fundamental to maintaining cognitive fitness, and has been shown to combat cognitive decline. Similar to physical fitness, brain fitness requires targeted effort through repetition.
Brain training is designed to turn inactive brain cells into healthy, active cells. Brain training exercises encourage new experiences that demand mindful thought outside of our routine thinking patterns. When we keep our brain active, our cognitive skills are less likely to decline. Medical research shows various types of brain training may help slow memory loss.
The Advanced Cognitive Training for Independent and Vital Elderly (ACTIVE) clinical trial was a large study conducted to determine whether or not brain training can improve perceptual and cognitive abilities in older adults. During the course of the study, over 2,800 participants were randomly assigned to one of four conditions: memory training, reasoning training, speed-of-processing training, or a no-contact control group. Study groups received 10 training sessions, each approximately 60 to 75 minutes long.
People who received brain training experienced improvement in these cognitive functions that lasted for at least 5 years after their training was complete. Additionally, many participants maintained most of their cognitive improvements when they were tested again 10 years later. However, tests of participants 5 and 10 years later indicated more promise. Study participants who received brain training also reported fewer daily-living problems, and were less likely to stop driving, experience an auto crash, or experience a decline in health-related quality of life.
Brain Training Tools
Despite living in the digital age, you don’t need a fancy app or mobile device to keep your brain active. There are plenty of easy brain training exercises you can add to your daily routine to keep your brain sharp.
Brain training exercises don’t have to be overly complex. Ultimately, it’s all about keeping your brain active, engaged, and challenged. Simple, everyday brain training tools/activities include:
- Crossword puzzles
- Learning an instrument
- Playing a board game
- Reading or writing
- Learning a new language
- Starting a new hobby
- Taking a class
- Learning a new vocabulary word every day
Brain Training with the Brain Workshop
Aging doesn’t mean you have to experience a sharp decline in cognitive ability. Research shows that keeping your brain stimulated keeps your brain healthy and strong. Regardless of your industry, a faster and stronger brain will help further your career advancement, earning potential, and future. Our customised one-on-one brain training mental exercises are designed to strengthen specific cognitive skills. Stronger cognitive skills translate to real life improvements in memory, clarity, attention, logic, and processing speed. Additionally, you’ll be building the foundation for healthy cognitive function in the years to come.
Contact a member of our team to schedule your free cognitive assessment.