Kick off 2023 with our new educational seminar “Brain Health as You Age: New Year, New Tools for Cognitive Wellness.”
As part of The Kensington’s ongoing educational series, we partnered with Dr. William Mansbach, the CEO and founder of CounterPoint Health Services to discuss maintaining cognitive health and stress reduction for caregivers and their aging loved ones.
Whether you want to learn how to support your aging loved one’s memory or how to boost your own brain health, this complimentary event is for you! Dr. Mansbach shares simple, tangible tips backed by research that you or your loved one can incorporate into daily life. Learn how to: reduce risk of cognitive decline, identify issues as they arise, measure progress, and implement the 15 for Me program.
What is healthy aging?
Our bodies are constantly changing and aging — from the moment we are born, as we enter adulthood, and into late adulthood.
By understanding this “lifespan approach” we can adapt our bodies to take into account the natural effects of aging, which includes both periods of growth and decline.
Practicing healthy aging includes having a realistic expectation of aging, so individuals can adjust their physical, social, and mental needs to live the longest and healthiest life possible.
Gerontologists recommend these guidelines for better and healthier aging:
- Engaging in proactive health care
- Improving mobility through exercise or physical rehabilitation
- Exercising regularly
- Maintaining a regular medication schedule
- Maintaining a regular sleep cycle
- Watching out for common chronic diseases such as diabetes, hypertension, coronary artery disease, osteoporosis, and arthritis
- Practicing gratitude and mindfulness to reduce stress
- Eating a healthy, balanced diet filled with nutrients without too many calories
- Practicing good dental hygiene
- Actively socializing and maintaining friendships and relationships with others
What is unhealthy aging?
Unhealthy aging can include premature aging, which occurs when a person’s biological age is older than their actual age.
Unhealthy aging is the result of many factors that include lifestyle choices, DNA damage, environmental pollution, sun damage, and excessive stress.
Below are set of common causes for premature and unhealthy aging:
- A lack of exercise
- Reduced mobility and opportunities to exercise
- Being overweight or obese
- Excessive alcohol consumption
- Social isolation
- High stress
- High sugar and carbohydrate diet
- Lack of mental health support
How can one reduce the risk of cognitive decline?
Part of the natural aging process can include a slight decline in cognition once people reach around 70 years old.
However, substantial memory loss such as dementia or Alzheimer’s is not considered part of healthy aging — and may signify a build-up of proteins called plaques and tangles in the brain that interfere with the brain’s ability to communicate with the body.
As of right now, there is no treatment or medication that can cure or prevent dementia or Alzheimer’s. But there are recommendations you can follow to protect yourself and your loved ones from cognitive decline:
- Exercising 150 minutes a week (roughly 30 minutes for five days a week)
- Eating a Mediterranean diet with emphasis on plant-based foods and healthy fats
- Abstaining from alcohol
- Sleeping at least 7-8 hours every night consistently
- Playing brain games and engaging in mental stimulation (reading, writing, playing an instrument)
- Maintaining strong social ties and friendships with people you love
What is 15 for Me and how can it help maintain brain health?
Our guest speaker, Dr. William Mansbach, and his BCAT®️ Research Center created the scientifically validated stress reduction program “15 for Me.”
Initially, this program was designed to prevent worker burnout and fatigue among healthcare workers.
However, based on its success with healthcare providers, the program expanded to include aging seniors in its goal to reduce stress and increase mental well-being.
15 for Me is a web-based app that guides its users to complete Dr. Mansbach’s “Three C’s of Reducing stress” for 15 minutes each day that include:
- Cardio exercise
- Cognitive exercises
- Centered breathing exercises
How to recognize the signs and symptoms of cognitive decline or MCI
While it’s normal for aging seniors to become a bit forgetful at times, cognitive decline and mild cognitive decline (MCI) are indicators a senior’s memory and cognition are worsening quicker than what’s normally expected.
For most seniors with MCI, the occasional forgetfulness doesn’t impact their daily lives or activities, and they can find ways to compensate by writing reminders, taking notes, and using calendars.
People with MCI can remain stable for many years without their condition worsening, while others may develop Alzheimer’s.
If you believe that you or a loved one may be experiencing premature cognitive decline, look out for these symptoms and get tested for MCI:
- Increased forgetfulness
- Missing important dates, holidays, and social events
- Difficulties concentrating or following a conversation
- Getting lost more easily
- Changes in mood, such as depression, anxiety, or increased anger or aggression
How Kensington Senior Living devotes care to benefit both seniors and their family caregivers
Kensington Senior Living is a premier senior living community dreamt out of building a community where we would want our own parents to live.
Our Kensington Promise is to “love and care for your family as we do our own.”
This means that we can accommodate your loved one’s changing healthcare needs, so they will never have to move or relocate to another community.
Through our enhanced care license, we can accommodate and administer more healthcare services than you’ll find in traditional assisted living communities, including:
- Medical director on staff
- Licensed nurses on staff 24/7
- Two levels of memory care neighborhoods for individuals who are in the early and late stages of dementia and Alzheimer’s
- Extensive support programs such as wheelchair assistance, wound care, hospice
- Accommodation for special diets, as well as an all-day dining room
- Diabetes management, including injections
- On-site physical rehabilitation services
- Ongoing online educational seminars, life enrichment, and events for residents, caregivers, and their families
- Ongoing Memory Cafe events that support people with MCI and their caregivers
Kensington Senior Living, your partners in caregiving
The Kensington Reston is a senior living and memory care community located in Reston, Virginia.
Our community offers a wider array of healthcare services than you’ll find in traditional assisted living and memory care residences, which includes a full spectrum of clinical support and nursing staff on-site 24/7.
Contact us today to learn more about available suites and floor plans and on-site amenities.