Most all of us know the critical role of exercise in staying physically healthy, especially as we age. Recent studies have found that moderate amounts of daily exercise can add years to your life. It makes sense and you’ll find a large percentage of folks parking further away from doors to increase their walk, or taking stairs when possible. We need to make good decisions for our bodies. Often we forget about making good decisions for our brains.
Brain exercise comes in the forms of thinking, learning, socially engaging, and remembering. But there are two other important factors to include in your “brain healthy” efforts. Pay attention to your eyesight and your hearing.
Hearing and eyesight often begin to deteriorate over time and especially in our senior years. It is a rare 80 year old who doesn’t need glasses and hearing aids. Too many people shun these devices as too expensive or unneeded. Nothing can be further from the truth! When your eyes fail your ability to learn and use your brain is limited. When your hearing worsens your social interaction slows and maybe even stops. Both seeing and hearing are vital for brain health and not keeping up with changes increases the chances that the brain deteriorates into dementia.
Don’t be fooled that these things aren’t necessary. I knew a man who didn’t believe his vision was getting worse. He blamed his poor seeing on newspapers and book companies whom he believed had cut their print sizes in half. Soon he wasn’t reading. He stopped watching television because he couldn’t see or hear it well enough. He rationalized ending his TV watching with the excuse that nothing was on that interested him. Often he sat alone, unable to carry on a conversation without continual requests to repeat things because his hearing wasn’t good. Soon he was sitting alone at home, healthy enough in his body, but his brain was suffering.
If you are like this gentleman, or if you have a loved one like him, please keep up with brain health by getting the necessary corrections to vision and hearing. Your brain and your family will thank you!
Information provided by Rev. Max Phillips, CEO, Perry Lutheran Home – main and Spring Valley campuses, 2323 E. Willis, Perry, (515)-465-5342 or (515) 465-7500.