Hearing loss has been shown to accelerate cognitive decline in older adults. However, recent studies have found hearing aids can slow this process. Hearing aids are thought to have this effect because of several factors. Here are just a few, brought to you by the Kitchener elderly care experts at Home Care Assistance.
Increasing Social Interaction
When seniors have hearing loss, they often pull away from social activities. The loss of talking, listening, and interacting with others forces the brain to work less and increases the rate of cognitive decline. A study from Rush University found seniors who interacted with others regularly were 70 percent less likely to have cognitive decline than those who didn’t interact with others.
Allowing Participation in Brain-Stimulating Activities
While many activities, such as reading or doing puzzles, can stimulate the brain, participating in these activities with others can make the brain work harder. A French study published in BMJ Open found subjects who played board games with others had less cognitive decline and were less likely to be diagnosed with dementia. Board games, book clubs, and exercising with friends can provide your loved one with both social interaction and brain stimulation.
Researchers who studied the records of more than 18,000 subjects from the National Health and Nutrition Examination Survey database found seniors who had hearing loss were 11 percent more likely to become depressed. Difficulty hearing can lead to feelings of sadness and isolation. Though scientists are still studying the effects depression has on Alzheimer’s and dementia, it appears depression and cognitive decline may be linked.
Delaying Alzheimer’s Disease
If your loved one has a family history of Alzheimer’s disease or has been recently diagnosed in the early stages, hearing aids can slow the progression of the disease. Many seniors who have hearing loss and have a genetic disposition to Alzheimer’s get diagnosed earlier in their lives. Hearing aids can delay the disease or slow its progression by offering your loved one more opportunities to stimulate the brain, and an Alzheimer’s caregiver in Kitchener can increase the chance by encouraging participation in activities specifically designed for this purpose.
Using the combination of hearing aids and mentally stimulating activities, your loved one can keep his or her brain healthy. If he or she needs assistance with cognitive and social stimulation, turn to Home Care Assistance. We offer part-time and live-in care in Kitchener, and we also provide specialized care for seniors with Parkinson’s, Alzheimer’s, and dementia. All of our caregivers are trained in the revolutionary Cognitive Therapeutics Method, an activities-based program designed to slow cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia. For more information on our senior care services, call one of our experienced Care Managers at (519) 590-2792 to schedule a free in-home consultation.