Just A Thought 2

Dementia affects abilities of memory, communication, processing of information that forms the thoughts and behavior. Reading is an enjoyable and powerful learning process that trains the brain. Reading involves imagination, imagery, memory, idea formation and switching from concept to concept while at other times one needs to link the ideas together to continue reading. One can empathize, sympathize, and feel revolted all during the process of reading. And each of these actions needs and uses a different part of the brain. Therefore reading probably keeps several parts of the brain active and exercises these areas if one is a regular and ardent reader. It is, therefore, not a passive activity and is a rather stimulating activity. It keeps one mentally aware including realms that may not necessarily involve the immediate surroundings and conditions.

Lifelong reading has long term benefits as well, especially in the younger and the elderly population. This habit leads to better processing of the information and helps interpret the social cues better in the real world environment. While the advantages of reading in the younger population are obvious, even in the elderly, it helps retain the mental abilities and plasticity. Not only is the memory loss found to be less in these patients, but the brains of such elderly people were found to have lower levels of changes related to dementia.

Even people who have started to have symptoms of dementia can read. They may have difficulty in remembering what they read, and the choice of books may change gradually, but they would enjoy the process of reading, or being read to anyways. Reading aloud in groups in a warm, well lit, comfortable room for a comfortable span of time is a good and recommended activity.

While completed evidence is tested in relatively few people (given the increasing screen time and decreasing book stores), this is a habit that does not have any disadvantage. Reading to grandchildren may be a good activity for both, the grandchildren as well as the grandparents. Reading has been noted to have memory benefits in the elderly. And in the younger generation, it has been found that children who are in the habit of reading are more likely to achieve and complete higher education. So grab a book. Now!

Dr Saumya Mittal. MBBS, MD (Medicine), CC (Diabetes Mellitus), DNB (Neurology) more  

Regarding standard activities for seniors: I suggest that one should look at the websites of senior citizen complexes, help age and similar organisations. It May be worth to go and live in a reputed senior citizen complex (Ashiana Housing for example) atleast for a couple of months and learn useful activities. At some complexes one can rent out an apartment for a small period, long period or buy one. more  
Can we have a standard healthy lifestyle suggested for a retired person above 60 including diet, exercise, reading, socialising and physical activity for keeping fit. Shall be grateful for a standard activity chart to be followed commonly. more  
These things are better individualized. A set of standard activity might be too stringent for some and too simple (bordering on useless) for others. more  
Thanks doctor, for the info on dementia. Let the forgotten READING HABIT, THRIVE, atleast because of this more  
Dr Saumya- While reading would be helpful to those who are fond of reading and have good access to different reading materials of interest, what about others?
1. Can other alternatives involving brain like solving cross word puzzles, participation in quizzes, teaching etc also be helpful?
2. There is a video message floating around in various Whatsapp groups that an excersice involving tongue is good to avoid Dementia
Advice on above would also be helpful more  
Mr Sushil Bhatia. Interesting options. However, solving cross word puzzles, participation in quizzes, teaching etc need a certain level of memory beyond which it would not be possible for one to go with it. Reading as an activity can be done irrespective of the memory status. more  

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