Avoid Dementia With Mental Fitness

Reporter: Shannon Samson

Web Producer: Amber Griswold

If you think forgetfulness comes with wrinkles and gray hair, think again. There's truth behind the saying "use it or lose it" especially when it comes to your brain.
Retirement is turning out to be a full-time job for Eve Bishop. She's writing a novel, she volunteers and she works out at the community center and still finds time to keep weekly appointments with her friends.
Eve Bishop, author, said, "We're in a book club together and we're in what we call an inner work group together and I'm also in a reading circle with another group of people."
And she may not realize it, but with all she has going on, Eve's exercising her brain, which can delay or even prevent the onset of dementia that often comes with age.
Doctor Mary McCafferty at the Ohio State University Medical Center specializes in elderly psychiatric care. She says about one in four people show signs of dementia by age 85, but there are things you can do to fight it.
Dr. McCafferty explained, "Some of the things that seem to decrease your risk for dementia were dancing, board games, playing a musical instrument, reading."
They are all activities that challenge your mind and the more you take control of things like that, the better off you may be.
Dr. McCafferty says for those who do show signs of dementia, there are medicines that can help, but there is no cure.
"The difficulty is that these medications don't affect underlying pathology. They can slow progression, but the treatments we have now are far from ideal."
The goods news is, you can take some control of how mentally fit you are. The more you continue to challenge your mind, the more likely you are to enjoy the golden years of your life.
And physical exercise helps too. Doctors say staying in good physical shape keeps a steady flow of blood and oxygen to the brain.
For more information on mental fitness, go to http://careconnection.osu.edu and click on "News & Media Room."