How Superagers Keep Their Minds Young!


ORLANDO, Fla. (Ivanhoe Newswire) — About six million Americans over the age 65 are living with Alzheimer’s. By the year 2050, that number is expected to double. Although it’s normal for brainpower to decline as we age, it is not inevitable. Ivanhoe has some tips on what you can do now to stay mentally sharp in your 80’s, 90’s, and beyond.

For 84-year-old David Albertson and 83-year-old Allan Woods, age is nothing but a number.

“I don’t think about my age,” said Woods.

Both may be considered superagers or have the cognitive function that’s comparable to that of an average middle-aged adult. A study from Northwestern University found those who are superagers lose brain volume at a slower pace than normally aging adults, putting superagers at a lower risk for dementia. So, what are superagers doing to keep their minds young?

“I think it’s important to stay active,” shared Albertson.

The risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease triples for individuals with a body mass index over 30. Also, challenging your mind can keep it in shape. David does crossword puzzles every day to keep his mind sharp.

“I’ve been doing it for over 50 years, probably 60 years,” continued Albertson.

And research found superagers also had a greater circle of friends and family.

“It’s just common sense. You just got to keep moving. You got to keep your mind sharp, and if you have family and friends, you’re in great shape,” Woods stated.

Another tip: indulging in a glass of alcohol may keep your mind young. A Northwestern study found moderate drinkers were 23 percent less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but the key is moderation. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can put someone at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s.

Contributors to this news report include: Milvionne Chery, Producer; and Roque Correa, Editor.


REPORT #2909

BACKGROUND: According to the CDC, Americans can expect to live longer with less dying from major diseases. Some key factors are the easy access to Medicare and better medical treatment, especially in cardiovascular and vision care. However, some seniors, called superagers, are considered to have the same mental and physical capabilities of individuals that are decades younger than them. Superagers are people in the 70 to 80 age range who are both cognitively and physically a match for people much younger. According to Harvard Medical School research, superagers embrace new challenges, both mentally and physically, essentially making sure to move out of their comfort zones.


CAUSES AND SYMPTOMS FOR COGNITIVE IMPAIRMENT: Mild cognitive impairment (MCI) is the stage between the normal cognitive decline of aging and the more serious decline of dementia. It’s characterized by problems with memory, language, thinking or judgment. MCI may increase your risk of later developing dementia caused by Alzheimer’s disease or other neurological conditions. There’s no single cause of MCI, just as there’s no single outcome for the disorder. Symptoms may remain stable for years, progress to Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia, or improve over time. Many people notice gradually increasing forgetfulness as they age. Cognitive issues may go beyond what’s expected and indicate possible MCI if any of the following are experienced: forget things more often; forget important events such as appointments; lose your train of thought or the thread of conversations; feel increasingly overwhelmed by making decisions, planning steps to accomplish a task or understanding instructions; start to have trouble finding your way around familiar environments; or become more impulsive or show increasingly poor judgment.


WHAT DOES IT TAKE TO BE A SUPERAGER?: Although superagers’ brains show less cell loss than those of their colleagues, their IQs and educational levels are similar. So, what sets them apart might be that they view problem-solving differently. Bradford Dickerson, MD, a neurologist at Harvard-affiliated Massachusetts General Hospital says, “They may approach these tasks as a challenge they can succeed at, in contrast to typical older adults who may give up.” Dr. Lisa Barrett, a colleague, speculates that superagers may share a willingness to endure discomfort to master a new skill, like playing a musical instrument or speaking a new language. Health experts suggest some steps to take to possibly become a super-ager is to embrace mental challenges like crossword puzzles or mathematical games; increase the intensity, duration, and frequency of exercise routines; be patient and willing to persevere new challenges; don’t let the number of your age get into your head; and join a group as it always more fun to accomplish something with a friend.


* For More Information, Contact:

David Albertson, Public Relations

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