Senior Housing Connection

three ladies


Wednesday, January 23, 2013

Your healthy-mind is the powerful conductor of your orchestra. The body follows its lead. A miscue by your brain (conductor) will have negative results on the quality of your retirement-lifestyle. Your healthy-mind is your persona, the essence of you. It is who you are.

Your brain monitors and regulates the body’s actions and reactions including the autonomic processes such as breathing and heart rate that are independent of conscious brain functions.
The brain provides for thinking, learning, and memory and the body’s balance, posture, and the coordination of movement. And, I believe, the brain and the heart is the center of spirituality and love. Your brain is essential for both life and quality of life.

Did you know that:

  • the average brain loses about 50 percent of its 15 billion brain cells between the ages of twenty and ninety-five?
  • the brain like muscle, shrinks as we age?
  • mental ability declines by an average of 20 percent between the ages forty and seventy?
  • almost 360,000 new cases of Alzheimer’s disease are reported each year in the United States?

It was once thought that the brain had a finite number of brain cells that could not be replaced or repaired when they deteriorated. New research has shown that the brain can regenerate vital new cells through neuroplasticity.

Neuroplasticity is a non-specific neuroscience term referring to the ability of the healthy-mind and nervous system to change structurally and functionally as a result of input from the environment. Our brain is incredibly adaptive even into old age.

Despite being protected by the thick bones of the skull, suspended in cerebrospinal fluid, and isolated from the bloodstream by the blood-brain barrier, the human brain is susceptible to many types of damage and disease. The most common forms of physical damage are closed head injuries such as a blow to the head, a stroke, or poisoning by a wide variety of chemicals that can act as neurotoxins.

Infection of the brain, though serious, is rare due to the biological barriers which protect it. The human brain is susceptible to degenerative disorders, such as Parkinson’s disease, multiple sclerosis, Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia.

However, it is possible to protect ourselves from the negative effects of aging on the brain.

Protecting our healthy-mind:

  • Read and study books and periodicals on general and brain health issues. My recommendation is to start with the references and suggested reading listed below.
  • Manage the stress in your life. Stress increases the death rate of specific brain cells, especially those concerned with memory and orientation. Stress management techniques including meditation are very effective in helping to protect our brain and emotional health.
  • Avoid anxiety as anxiety contributes to stress, which can have a negative impact on both brain and heart health.
  • The food we eat has a huge impact on aging and the health of our brain. The brain, like the heart, never rests. It needs a constant supply of sufficient nutrients, especially vitamins and minerals.
  • Retirement travel is a great way to build a network of friends to increase socialization and enhance mental health.
  • Fill your brain with positive uplifting thoughts. Meditation on scripture or other good things is an excellent method to keep your focus upbeat.
  • Lack of use in muscles leads to muscle loss, the same is true with the brain. Exercise your brain with activities like crossword puzzles, reading books, a new challenging job and lifelong learning.
  • Become a volunteer and/or join a service club to keep your mind and body active and stimulated.