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Lifelong Learning May Reduce Alzheimer’s Disease

Lifelong learning playing chess

Facts About Alzheimer’s Disease

According to the Alzheimer’s Association, over 6 million Americans age 65 and older have Alzheimer’s disease and approximately 400,000 of them live in Texas. In fact, Texas ranks fourth in the number of Alzheimer’s disease cases and second in the number of Alzheimer’s disease deaths.

It’s expected that by 2050, the nationwide number of seniors with Alzheimer’s will be almost 13 million. Until there’s a proven treatment or a cure, what can Austin, TX, seniors do to combat Alzheimer’s? This article will look at how Alzheimer’s impacts  and what older adults and senior living communities — like Longhorn Village — are doing to combat this debilitating disease. 

Current Research. 

A study in JAMA Neurology suggests you may be able to protect your aging brain by continuing to learn and pursue your interests and hobbies later in life. The study specifically looked at people who carry the APOE4 genetic risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease. While participants with the APOE4 gene had lower cognitive function overall, those with a high level of lifetime intellectual enrichment were shown to have their cognitive impairment delayed by an average of nine years.

Researchers defined “lifetime intellectual enrichment” in two ways. First, early/mid-life which was gauged by education and occupation. Second, mid-/late-life intellectual activity based on hobbies and interests. While high lifetime intellectual enrichment was associated with higher cognitive function, seniors who engaged in mid-/late-life cognitive activity had less intellectual decline over time. So it’s not too late to start training your brain! 

The Benefits of Being a Life-long Learner.

As our brains age, we may  occasionally have slight bouts of memory loss and find it difficult to retrieve memories of recent events, but have no trouble learning and storing information. Learning new information or new motor skills will help keep your brain sharp, and potentially delay aging effects on the brain. One way you can do that is by taking college classes. It can encourage you to stay up with the latest information and expose you to younger generations who also share your interests and goals. 

 Of course, you can receive the benefits of life-long learning outside the classroom too. For instance, you can socialize with others. Participating in engaging, interesting or intellectual discussions will allow you to make associations, judgments, deductions and assessments based on your life experiences. You can also do a variety of brain exercises. Play games, work puzzles, read, travel, exercise, invent, innovate, play a musical instrument, write a story, letter or blog, volunteer, teach, join a group, go to a play, concert or lecture, participate in research. In other words, be involved in the community around you, be curious and follow your interests. 

Life-long Learning at Longhorn Village.

With a name like Longhorn Village, it’s probably no surprise we have a lot of University of Texas Exes® at our community — including former students and faculty. We also have an exclusive relationship with the Ex-Students Association of The University of Texas, which gives residents access to continuing and extended education programs, social activities, fine arts events, library resources, campus facilities, and exclusive travel packages. It’s part of our overall active aging philosophy to help seniors enjoy an active and engaging lifestyle on their own terms.

Discover the Peace of Mind of Whole Person Care.

At the Health Center at Longhorn Village, you’ll find compassionate, exceptional care in a luxurious, Hill Country setting. We offer health care services from assisted living to rehabilitation, skilled nursing and memory care with a team of dedicated health care experts who are focused on giving you whatever you need to keep enjoying life. 

If you or a loved one are looking for Alzheimer’s care in Austin, TX, contact Longhorn Village to discuss your options. We’ve helped hundreds of people just like you find the right combination of care and services.