As more and more baby boomers approach their senior years, they often share with me their concerns about dementia, Alzheimer’s, and other mental disabilities. They often want to know, “is there anything I can do to stay mentally fit as I grow older?” Fortunately the answer is yes. Let me give you the details.
Two important studies on the mental deterioration associated with aging were conducted years ago. The studies were called “The Baltimore and Seattle Longitudinal Studies On Aging,” and what they discovered provides the answer to the problem you are seeking. The studies analyzed individuals who were 80 years old or older. You are going to like what it revealed.
The story showed that people who read books on a regular basis had a much lower frequency of both dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. While the frequent reading of books did not cure Alzheimer’s it did slow down its progression. The same was true with dementia. More interesting was the fact the individuals who hadn’t been reading were able to reap these benefits by starting on a regular reading program. Here is the reason why they believe this occurs.
If you are over thirty years old, then your brain is losing thousands of neurons every day. This is a normal part of aging. When your approaching eighty then years of losing neurons can begin to affect your memory. However, people who read books stimulated their brains. This extra stimulation made the existing neurons form more connections. Connections that helped to compensate for the neurons that were lost. As a result they had better mental acuity even at advanced ages.
What is the lesson to be learned from this? If you are a baby boomer and you want to keep your brain mentally fit, then you need to exercise it regularly. The best exercise is to continually read as you grow older. Your brain will reward you for doing this by staying focused and sharp as you grow older.