Getting older can bring many changes, both physically and mentally. Even when you’re healthy, your brain and body start slowing down. Maintaining your cognitive health—the ability to clearly think, learn, and remember—is important for your overall well-being.
Many things influence cognitive health. Your genes, lifestyle, and environment can all impact your thinking skills and ability to perform everyday tasks.
It’s common to experience some decline in cognitive function as you get older. That may mean occasionally losing things, forgetting words, or briefly forgetting what day it is. Or you may notice that it takes longer to learn new things. Such symptoms don’t necessarily mean that you’re developing Alzheimer’s disease or another type of dementia.
“I like to think about the brain as a computer disk for memory and thinking,” explains Dr. Marie Bernard, an aging expert at NIH. “As you get older it gets fuller and fuller. So, it can get more difficult to retrieve data and add data to it. But you’re still able to learn and grow.”
Aging is bound to bring changes. But there are many things you can do to protect your cognitive health as you age. That includes knowing what puts your well-being at risk.
Carol graduated from Riverside White Cross School of Nursing in Columbus, Ohio and received her diploma as a registered nurse. She attended Bowling Green State University where she received a Bachelor of Arts Degree in History and Literature. She attended the University of Toledo, College of Nursing, and received a Master’s of Nursing Science Degree as an Educator.
She has traveled extensively, is a photographer, and writes on medical issues. Carol has three children RJ, Katherine, and Stephen – one daughter-in-law; Katie – two granddaughters; Isabella Marianna and Zoe Olivia – and one grandson, Alexander Paul. She also shares her life with husband Gordon Duff, many cats, and two rescue pups.
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