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SuperAgers Prove It’s Possible to Keep Cognitive Decline at Bay

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According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 Americans aged 65 or older may develop Alzheimer’s. Seniors can face a variety of challenges as they age, many of which can be mitigated with the help of professional in-home caregivers who provide high-quality in-home care. Birmingham families trust in Home Care Assistance to help their elderly loved ones age in place safely and comfortably.

For many years researchers have been studying Alzheimer’s disease through observing seniors who already have it. A new point of view on this topic has recently come into play, and it is all thanks to seniors known as SuperAgers.

SuperAgers: What Are They and What Can We Learn from Them?

A SuperAger is any person over the age of 80 with the same cognitive and memory abilities as a middle-aged person. Researchers at Northwestern University conducted a study titled “Rates of Cortical Atrophy in Adults 80 Years and Older with Superior vs. Average Episodic Memory,” and they are now trying a different approach to tackling the Alzheimer’s issue. These researchers are studying brains of SuperAgers to look for differences that may be allowing a SuperAger’s brain to function at higher level. 

During the study, researchers compared the brain volume of SuperAgers with the brain volume of average aging people. One of the most obvious differences found was that the cortex, or outer layer of the brain, was significantly more intact. The cortex of the brain serves in memory storage and cognitive abilities. In fact, overall brain volume reduced at a much slower pace for SuperAgers than it did for their peers. Due to this discovery, researchers have begun to see the importance of the cortex’s health and the role it could play in preventing dementia. 

In addition to dementia, seniors can face a variety of other challenges in the golden years. Certain age-related conditions can make it more challenging for seniors to age in place safely and comfortably, but Birmingham live-in care experts are available around the clock to help seniors manage their health. Whether your loved one is living with dementia or is recovering from a stroke, you can trust in professional live-in caregivers to enhance his or her quality of life.

What Keeps a SuperAger’s Cortex in Shape?

Researchers are still trying to determine what causes deterioration in some cortices while others remain strong. Although the answer is not exactly clear yet, examiners believe it is partly genetic and partly environmentally dependent. However, one of the most hypothesized answers to keeping the cortex healthy is maintaining a strong level of physical and mental focus as often as possible.

What Steps Can Be Taken to Strengthen the Cortex?

The more a person engages in problem solving, the healthier the cortex will be. Seniors should exercise regularly, eat healthy, and engage in brain exercises such as puzzles or brain teasers. Becoming involved on a social level can also boost brain functioning in the senior years.

Encouraging older adults to make healthier lifestyle choices can be challenging for some caregivers. If you are the primary caregiver for a senior family member and you need respite care, Birmingham, Alabama, Home Care Assistance is here to help. Our respite caregivers are trained to assist older adults with a wide variety of everyday tasks, including meal prep, physical activity, and personal hygiene. We also provide 24-hour care and specialized care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call us at (205) 438-6927 and create a customized care plan for your elderly loved one.