When it comes to strengthening and caring for our brains, a common term is “cognitive reserve.” Our cognitive reserve gives us a little bit of cushion for when we age and our brains naturally slow down. It can be compared to a squirrel who saves up all the acorns he can for when winter comes around and food is scarce. Building a cognitive reserve is one way to protect against cognitive decline.
A recent article from Psychology Today, Flapping Tongues and Brawny Brains, by David Ludden, PhD, took a look at the effects of dementia on monolingual brains and bilingual brains. The results showed that bilingual people with dementia tend to fair better than people with dementia who only speak one language. The article explains that being exposed to more than one language as a child strengthens the connections in the brain and builds a healthy cognitive reserve. In fact, a bilingual Alzheimer’s brain with more atrophy than a monolingual Alzheimer’s brain still functioned at a higher level!
Just like exercising our bodies, exercising our brains is important for long term health. We care for ourselves by watching what we eat, avoiding toxins, and maintaining exercise routines; building cognitive reserve is the best form of caring for our brains. It’s important to remember that brain care is an important part of self-care!
But what if you’ve never learned a second language, or if you were already much older when you did? You’re not completely out of luck, the article reassures. Finding other ways to stimulate and exercise your brain can still prove to be beneficial. Learn a new hobby such as knitting or pick up that book that you’ve been meaning to read. If you need a more intense, personalized brain care program, A Wiser Mind has developed a proprietary program called Brain Activation Therapy which targets specific areas of the brain. Call us to find out how we can help you in your quest for the best brain care!