Does Cognitive Decline Normally Occur with Aging?

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Growing older causes seniors to experience changes in their bodies and brains that negatively affect their independence. It may be difficult for your senior loved one to walk, think, communicate, and remember certain things as he or she ages due to cognitive decline. The good news is some cognitive abilities, such as vocabulary, are more resilient to aging and could even increase with age. Continue reading to learn more about the cognitive decline process as a normal part of aging.

Cognitive Functioning

Cognition is crucial for seniors, especially as they continue to age. It often determines whether seniors can live alone or if they need to move in with family and friends or reside in an assisted living facility. As seniors age, many of their abilities decrease, putting a strain on their overall health. They may have difficulty managing multiple medications, driving, preparing meals, reading, writing, and communicating and begin to rely more on family, friends, and professional caregivers for assistance with daily tasks.

Seniors with mobility limitations, health conditions, or severe cognitive challenges may find it difficult to manage daily tasks and their overall health on their own. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of at-home care Lincoln, CA, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.

Brain Aging

The way the brain processes and stores information changes with time because of the effects aging has on molecules, cells, and cognition as a whole. Although brain aging is inevitable, the way it impacts older adults can vary. However, the brain changes more than any other organ in the body. The complex structures of the brain change, and the networks and pathways begin to disconnect. Some of the most common cognitive changes associated with brain aging include difficulties with multitasking, learning new things, and remembering people, places, and things.

Sudden and severe cognitive decline may be a sign of dementia, so if you notice an abrupt change in your loved one’s cognitive abilities, make sure he or she sees a physician right away. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Lincoln seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance.

Cognitive Functioning Components

To understand how aging could affect your loved one, you need to know more about the different domains cognitive abilities are divided into, including fluid abilities (processing speed), crystallized abilities (vocabulary), and visuospatial abilities (visual perception). All of these domains decrease with age, generally beginning at the age of 30. Adults over the age of 60 may notice their sensory perception, processing speed, and vision decreasing at a faster rate. A decrease in executive cognitive function makes it difficult for seniors to distinguish among people, places, and things, but their crystallized abilities may remain mostly intact as they age.

Misconceptions

Although cognitive decline is a normal part of the aging process, there are things seniors can do to stave off the loss of their abilities. Living a healthy lifestyle can strengthen cognitive skills in the senior years. Explain to your loved one how healthy eating can boost cognitive health. Other healthy lifestyle choices your loved one can make to slow the effects of cognitive decline include:

• Getting regular moderate exercise 
• Socializing 
• Completing annual checkups and screenings
• Avoiding smoking 
• Managing stress
• Maintaining a healthy weight 
• Getting plenty of rest

Professional caregivers with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of senior home care. Lincoln families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. Reach out to us at Home Care Assistance if you need compassionate, professional care for your loved one. Call one of our dedicated Care Managers today at 916.226.3737 to learn about the high quality of our in-home care services.