Did you know it’s possible to become a “super ager?” It is and we have tips for becoming a ‘super ager.’ It’s a lifestyle of taking a proactive approach to protecting yourself from dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. “SuperAgers” is not an exclusive group; it’s a group of aging individuals who could hold the key to uncovering age-related health issues, including dementia. Researchers are attempting to identify common traits among groups of cognitively “young” individuals.
Northwestern University in Chicago researchers define a “Super Ager” as:
- Someone who is eighty years old or older
- Who exhibits cognitive function comparable to that of a middle-aged individual
- Someone who exhibits less brain volume loss than his peers
Researchers used MRIs to measure the thickness of the cortex in two dozen SuperAgers and 12 other individuals. Adults who are “normally aging” lose about 2.24% of brain volume a year. SuperAgers lost about 1.06%. This study showed that the Super Agers were losing brain volume at a slower rate than their peers – and might be better protected from dementia.
Tips For Becoming A ‘Super Ager’
Are there any steps you could take to help yourself become a Super Ager? Yes and here are a few things these individuals do:
- These aging adults stay mentally active. They read, and learn about subjects they aren’t familiar with. They take classes, take walks, participate in crafts and they also take classes that put them outside of their comfort zones and stimulate their brains in unique ways.
- Super Agers are more active than some of their peers. When getting physical activity you increase your oxygen intake and that helps your body perform. When you exercise regularly, you can also maintain a healthy weight. The risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease triples in those individuals whose body mass index is higher than thirty. Even a twice-a-week exercise routine will improve your health and could decrease your chance of developing dementia.
- Being social is another common factor among Super Agers. They keep in touch with friends and family. They take part in activities that put them in touch with one another. They eat meals with others. In addition to mental and physical activity, a healthy diet and lifestyle, maintaining a strong social network is crucial.
Super Agers don’t step away from anything fun — they indulge — in moderation. SuperAgers who indulge in the occasional glass of wine or alcohol were less likely to develop memory problems as compared to their non-drinking counterparts. The tips for becoming a super ager aren’t difficult, but they will take some thought to implement into your routine.
There are some risk factors that are beyond the control of many of us but that doesn’t mean you can’t do your part to adopt a lifestyle of a SuperAger. Here are factors out of your control:
- Women are more likely to get Alzheimer’s disease than men.
- After the age of sixty-five, the risk of Alzheimer’s doubles every five years.
- If you have a family history of the disease, you are more likely to develop it.
Even if you have some of the above risk factors, that is no reason to not start living like a Super Ager and do your best to beat the odds and reduce your risk.
Visit a Baldwin House Senior Living community near you and ask what activities we have planned for our residents as we welcome autumn together. Baldwin House Senior Living is built upon the strong foundation of guiding families and empowering seniors.
Call us today to schedule a visit. We’d love to meet you or your loved one!