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The Balanced Care Method: Sharp Minds
Featured

11 January 2017
  Home Care Assistance Prescott | Partner Content

Mental Engagement Contributes to Longevity

The Balanced Care Method™ is based on the scientifically studied lifestyle choices of the longest—and healthiest—living population on Earth. It focuses as much on quality of life as on longevity—emphasizing 5 components: healthy diet, physical exercise, socialization, sharp minds, and a purposeful lifestyle. Let’s take a closer look at ways to keep minds sharp.

Trained in the Balanced Care Method, our caregivers encourage regular mental stimulation while being aware of cognitive limitations. While dementia and short-term memory loss are common among seniors, mentally stimulating activities can help them delay, or possibly even prevent, the onset of these conditions.

No other leisure pastime can transport us to new worlds, inspire us to learn something new, or encourage an active imagination as the experience of reading a good book. The ritual of sitting in a comfy chair with a good book is an age-old pastime, and many older adults will agree that this is the ideal way to spend a lazy Sunday.

However, seniors don’t read as much as they used to – about 7 in 10 people who have read a book in the past year are in the 50-64 age group. Just like eating healthy foods and exercising, reading promotes healthy longevity too, and so should be embraced as one gets older!

The National Institute on Aging sponsored a longitudinal study of more than 3,500 people over the age of 50, with the goal of determining if reading had an effect on longevity. The participants were divided into three groups based on self-reported reading habits: the first group included people who didn’t read books, the second included those who read books for up to three and a half hours per week and the third group consisted of people who read more than three and a half hours per week.

Participants in the study were asked follow-up questions for twelve years, and it was found that people who read books for up to three and a half hours a week were 17 percent less likely to have passed away. More noteworthy, it was found that people who read more than three and a half hours a week reduced the likelihood of death by 23 percent. These results remained even after taking overall current health, income, marital status, sex, education and other factors into consideration.

While it isn’t stated in the report why reading may lengthen an individual’s life, the research team attributes it to increased mental engagement. Previous reports have pointed out that as people age, participating in activities and events that are mentally challenging helps promote cognitive and physical health while slowing the onset and progression of cognitive decline.

For those with limited eyesight, there are audio books and pod casts for local news and just about everything else! There are also devices that can read printed materials. We can help you or your loved one find what works best.

Skill-based games, such as Scrabble, checkers, backgammon or Boggle, can also help seniors exercise cognitive function. Playing cards like solitaire stimulates the mind and keeps hands nimble. Having a family game night can bring generations together and create wonderful memories.

Engaging in pattern-following crafts like knitting or needlepoint also stimulates the brains of older adults and reduces stress, both contributing to better long-term brain health.

Learning new things is always good! Starting or re-starting a hobby, or going to classes and seminars on topics of interest can be very engaging!.

We train our caregivers in the Balanced Care Method to promote overall health and maximum independence for seniors. Families enjoy peace of mind knowing their loved ones are aging safely and comfortably in their own homes. Contact us today to learn more about our Balanced Care Method approach and our home care services!