How superagers keep their minds young

Ivanhoe has some tips on what you can do now to stay mentally sharp in your 80′s, 90′s, and beyond.

ORLANDO, Florida – About six million Americans over the age 65 are living with Alzheimer’s. By the year 2050, that number is expected to double. Although it’s normal for brainpower to decline as we age, it is not inevitable.

For 84-year-old David Albertson and 83-year-old Allan Woods, age is nothing but a number.

“I don’t think about my age,” Woods said.

Both may be considered superagers or have the cognitive function that’s comparable to that of an average middle-aged adult. A study from Northwestern University found those who are superagers lose brain volume at a slower pace than normally aging adults, putting superagers at a lower risk for dementia. So, what are superagers doing to keep their minds young?

“I think it’s important to stay active,” Albertson said.

The risk for developing Alzheimer’s disease triples for individuals with a body mass index over 30. Also, challenging your mind can keep it in shape. David does crossword puzzles every day to keep his mind sharp.

“I’ve been doing it for over 50 years, probably 60 years,” Albertson said.

And research found superagers also had a greater circle of friends and family.

“It’s just common sense. You just got to keep moving. You got to keep your mind sharp, and if you have family and friends, you’re in great shape,” Woods said.

Another tip: indulging in a glass of alcohol may keep your mind young. A Northwestern study found moderate drinkers were 23% less likely to develop Alzheimer’s disease, but the key is moderation. Drinking more than the recommended amount of alcohol can put someone at a greater risk for Alzheimer’s.