In 2015, the Institute of Medicine (IOM) published a report on cognitive aging, with recommendations on how to stay mentally sharp. Unlike Alzheimer’s disease, which affects 10%–14% of the population, cognitive aging is a natural process affecting us all. It includes age-related memory loss, slower processing of information and difficulties making decisions.
To maintain cognitive health as you get older, the IOM recommends these tips:
- Stay physically active.
- Get adequate sleep.
Control risk factors for cardiovascular disease, such as diabetes, high blood pressure and smoking.
- Discuss all your medications with your doctor. Even some over-the-counter medicines, such as antihistamines, contain ingredients that can impair your thinking and reaction time.
- Seek opportunities to learn new skills, hobbies or information.
- Stay socially engaged with other people.