Seniors receive all kinds of retirement advice upon reaching age 60, with the majority of these recommendations concerning where to live or how to procure the best medical insurance. However, activities for seniors should also include those that exercise the mind and promote healthy levels of cognitive ability. Contrary to what is commonly believed, the human brain does not stop growing when an individual reaches their 20’s and beyond. Rather, it continues to change due to its inherent plasticity, or its capability to create new pathways between neurons.
Although the creation of neurons ceases once an infant is born, the brain’s ability to absorb and process knowledge does not deteriorate. In fact, retirement advice for seniors should include creating a daily course of brain “calisthenics” since on-going research is proving that engaging in a brain fitness program of some sort contributes to Alzheimer’s prevention and in delaying other senility disorders.
About the Mind Body Connection
Growing old “gracefully” means paying special attention to how you react to stimuli and life situations in general. When you react negatively to something or resist adopting an optimistic, carefree attitude towards the unpredictability of life events, your body engages in a “flight or fight” response that causes the release of stress hormones. These hormones–specifically cortisol–can have a detrimental impact on your body, especially if it is chronic and continuously pumped into your bloodstream. Some complaints that doctor’s receive from those suffering disorders from stress are:
- chest pain/pressure
- high blood pressure/hypertension
Because your emotional health can directly influence the normal functioning of your immune system, retirement advice should also include learning how to cope with stress in a positive manner that will prevent illnesses caused by excessive cortisol levels. In addition, recent research conducted at the University of California revealed a link between stress hormones and the formation of “plaques” or brain lesions commonly found in cases of Alzheimer’s disorder
Feeding your Body and Brain
Nourishing your body with the right foods and nourishing your brain with mental activities are the two of the best pastimes in which seniors can participate. Everyone knows that eating recommended portions of fruits, vegetables and grains while avoiding overindulgence in bad fats and processed foods can do much for your overall health. However, you can also keep your brain in tip-top shape by mentally exerting your brain with these activities:
- have trivia answering contests with friends – United States trivia three-pack: Patriotic trivia, Presidential trivia and State Nicknames trivia!
- read books and magazines
- enroll in a course at a local community college
- learn or continue learning how to operate a computer
- Learn to paint or take up gardening
Comprehensive retirement advice includes the best kind of mental stimulation for seniors’ social interaction. Whether it is performing volunteer work or meeting with friends for lunch and conversation several times a week, maintaining social ties with friends and family benefits both the mind and the body.