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Are Seniors Helpless Against Dementia?

While dementia and Alzheimer’s disease remain a scientific quandary, they are not as inevitable as we thought in the past.

The organic marker for dementia is a sticky plaque called amyloid beta. Amyloid beta shows up on the brain scans of people who are positive for dementia. But here’s the fascinating thing: Some very old people with obvious amyloid beta on their scans are sharp as a tack.

Dutch scientists recently completed a study of centenarians–people who live to be over one hundred, many of whom were quite astute and cognitively alert and capable. What they found is that the risk of developing dementia doesn’t get any worse after one hundred.

Age is the main risk factor for dementia, but people at a hundred are at no worse risk than folks at seventy-five.

Resilience Might Be the Key

The same ability to adapt and bounce back from adversity that gets people through a COVID-19 epidemic might be the same thing that saves some seniors from dementia. This ability to survive and thrive despite obstacles is called resilience.

And here’s the further good news. Most seniors are capable of resilience, even in the face of chronic health conditions, loss of body strength and flexibility, and reduction in income.

So how do seniors cultivate resilience? And how can you, as the adult child of a senior, encourage resilience?

Turns out, a lot of it comes down to attitude. Positive attitudes and hopefulness are strongly aligned with resilience. Other factors that play a role are:

  • Being able to do the acts of daily living on one’s own. That means people who can still cook, feed, and clean themselves, perhaps with difficulty but without help, are going to be more resilient.
  • Exercise. The relationship between exercise and staving off dementia is imperfectly understood, but we know there is a link between them.
  • Having a support group. The ideal support group for someone over sixty-five is a mix of loving family members, elder care professionals, compassionate neighbors, and peers. A support group is most effective if the senior feels that he brings value to all his relationships.

Elder Care Can Foster Resilience

Home care professionals who come to your parent’s home and provide a range of services can help a senior retain resilience or cultivate it. As needed, these home care aides provide stimulating conversation, help seniors learn new things, and find ways for seniors to adapt to health conditions and mobility losses.

In conclusion, new research suggests that dementia may be preventable up to a point in many older people. Even people in their nineties and over a hundred can maintain sharp brains. And resilience plays a large part in that. Encourage your senior to think positively, keep learning new things, and stay social.


If you or an aging loved one is considering elder care in Ferndale, FL, please contact the caring staff at Golden Heart Senior Care of Clermont today. 1-888-423-4046.