Showing posts with label avoiding dementia. Show all posts
Showing posts with label avoiding dementia. Show all posts

Friday, May 21, 2021

Brain Boosting Jobs for Seniors to Keep You Mentally Active

Many retiring Baby Boomers worry about their uncertain future.  They are concerned about having enough money to support their lifestyle for the rest of their lives, and they worry about how they can avoid developing dementia.  The author of this week's guest post has some ideas which will help Baby-Boomers deal with their biggest fears.  Jennifer Scott, our guest poster, has written about how certain types of mentally challenging encore careers can help with both concerns ... meeting your financial needs, while also stimulating your brain.

While there are no guarantees that a retirement job will protect your brain, participating in a variety of activities which are mentally and physically stimulating have been shown to be one way to postpone Alzheimer's Disease and some other types of dementia. 

To learn about other ways to protect your mental function as you age, you will also want to read the book, "The End of Alzheimer's: The First Program to Prevent and Reverse Cognitive Decline."

The guest post is below:

Find Your Second Act in Your Senior Years with these Brain Boosting Jobs

Maybe you picture spending your retirement lying on a beach, or perhaps you prefer a more active retirement, enjoying hiking or biking. You have certainly earned the opportunity for fun and relaxation, but it may be to your advantage to consider finding a part-time job, too. The extra income is nice, but the real reward is in the boost your brain gets from working. Just about anything you set your mind to do can help you stay sharp, but below are some specific suggestions for jobs which will particularly engage your brain.

Explore Digital Opportunities

Between laptops, smartphones, and other digital devices, so much of what we do these days revolves around computers. This is why many of the best part-time job opportunities make use of digital tools. If you want to work for yourself, one way to use computers is by starting your own home-based e-commerce business. We love the drop shipping model for e-commerce because it allows you to sell whatever you choose by having items shipped directly from the manufacturer to your customers. Going this route minimizes your startup costs because it eliminates the need to have a traditional storefront or invest in inventory.

The best plan for success is to choose a product category which you really care about, but the great thing about using drop shipping is that there are countless products you can choose from. If you are into fashion, you can sell clothing and accessories, or if you love technology, you could go with tech gadgets such as cell phones and other electronics.  There are several online companies which will help you get started.  Before you select one, be sure to check out their rating with the Better Business Bureau and do a Google search to see if you find complaints about them.  Once you are satisfied, you just need  to find a way to promote the products through your email contacts, Twitter, Facebook, Instagram or other social media. 

Should you decide to start your own business, there are many things you will need to do to ensure that everything stays on the up and up. For example, you may need to register your business with the state, which involves learning the specific guidelines and regulations that you will need to follow. Also, you may need to set up payroll if you have any employees, which could happen if you business grows quickly.

What is payroll, and how do I do it? Simply put, it is the process of correctly paying people for the work they do. Although this sounds simple on the surface, it actually involves a number of steps, including actually cutting paychecks and ensuring that the payroll taxes and financial records are handled correctly and accurately.  You can easily learn how to do it, however, using a program like Quicken, or you could hire a company to handle this service for you.  Before you worry about employees, of course, you first need to get your home business off the ground.

If e-commerce isn’t your thing, you can still make use of digital technology to do a variety of jobs from home and even use skills from your previous job. For example, if you are a retired teacher, you could become an online tutor, or if you have administrative skills, you could become a virtual assistant. Once again, you need to check with the Better Business Bureau and do a Google search to make sure you are dealing with a legitimate company.  There are some good ones, but there are also scams. You do not want to start off your retirement by getting scammed. 

The underlying benefit from all of these ideas is that they require you to make use of your knowledge while also learning new things so you stay at the top of your game.  The more new things you learn, whether it is how to do payroll or how to improve your other skills, the more your mind will be challenged and the more likely you will be able to postpone signs of dementia.

Engage in Arts and Literature

According to the National Institute on Aging, research has shown that one of the best ways to preserve your memory as a senior is to learn something new. If you love hands-on activities, put this concept into action by learning a new craft. As you hone your skills, you can find opportunities to monetize your work, such as selling your wares at festivals.

Along with crafts and other visual arts, music is another art form which has amazing brain benefits. If you know how to play an instrument, look into providing lessons as a part-time job. Another ideal job for seniors is to work at local arts events. If you have a local theater, ballet, or symphony, you could work as an usher. After all, this is an excellent way to gain exposure to all kinds of arts and make money while doing it!

For those who have a passion for literature, AARP lists working as a library assistant as one of the best jobs for seniors. Working in a library requires the mental exercise of cataloging books and answering questions. Plus, interacting with the public keeps you socially engaged, and research has shown that social activity may help fight off dementia.

Get Outside and Be Active

You may be surprised to find that being physically active is just as important as mental activity in keeping your brain strong. Of course, you don’t have to be a professional athlete to make money being active! If you love animals, look into starting a business as a dog walker. Or, if you love the outdoors, Southern Living suggests working as a park ranger.

The great thing about these ideas is that they are as fun as they are beneficial, so you don’t have to sacrifice your hard-earned time doing something you don’t like. This is why seniors have nothing to lose by getting back into the workforce. You can discover new joys and strengthen your brain, and the paycheck will be like icing on the cake!

For more great job ideas, read "The Encore Career Handbook: How to Make a Living and a Difference in the Second Half of Life."

You can find gifts for retirees and others at my Etsy Store, DeborahDianGifts:

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Wednesday, July 18, 2018

Dementia is Linked to Depression and Anxiety

In a number of recent posts, this blog has covered how senior citizens can postpone or even eliminate their dementia risk by making lifestyle changes such as following the MIND diet, getting enough exercise, socializing more, playing brain games, learning new skills, and sleeping well.  People who want to protect their cognitive ability will want to know that untreated depression and anxiety are also linked to a higher dementia risk.

If you are interested in doing everything possible to avoid or postpone dementia, including Alzheimer's Disease, then it is important to take a multi-faceted approach to keeping your brain as healthy as possible.   If you have elderly parents or other relatives, you may want to apply some of this research to their care, too.  They will be happier, healthier and easier to care for if their brain is functioning optimally, which will make life easier for you, as well.

Symptoms of Depression in Senior Citizens

Younger adults show signs of depression when they appear to be sad, exhibit a loss of interest in their favorite activities, are agitated easily, or have angry outbursts.  While seniors can have the same symptoms of depression, they may also have symptoms which are not always identified as indicators of depression.   

Watch for the symptoms of depression and anxiety listed below:

Memory difficulties
Slower thinking
Trouble concentrating
Personality changes
Physical aches and pains which are unexplained
Either the loss of appetite or overeating
Sleep problems
Isolation ... a desire to stay home most of the time
Suicidal thoughts, especially in older men
Dwelling on thoughts of death

Medical Treatments for Depression and Anxiety

If you or a family member is experiencing the above symptoms, you should report the symptoms to a doctor right away.  The sooner depression is treated, the less damage it will do.

A doctor can make sure there is not an underlying medical issue causing the symptoms.
A doctor can prescribe an antidepressant or anti-anxiety medication.
A doctor may also recommend a therapist; talk therapy usually does help, especially when combined with medications.

How to Help Yourself with Depression and Anxiety

There are also actions you can take on your own to lessen the depth of your depression and anxiety, but you should do these things in addition to seeking medical help, not instead of it.  Remember, not only do you want to improve your mood, but you also want to reduce your risk of Alzheimer's Disease and other types of dementia.

How to Reduce Your Symptoms of Depression and Anxiety

Learn relaxation techniques such as deep breathing.
Get plenty of exercise and spend time in the sunshine and fresh air, when possible.
Take classes in yoga, Tai Chi or similar relaxing forms of exercise.
Practice mindful meditation.
Try journaling; writing about your problems can reduce depression.

Depression is closely linked to dementia, although it is not the only factor.  Maintaining a generally healthy lifestyle will also reduce your risk.  Check out other the articles in the Medical Concerns section of this blog explaining all the ways you can lower your Alzheimers and dementia risk.  No one wants to lose their memory at the end of their life, if they can avoid it.

If you want to learn more about common medical problems as we age, retirement planning, where to retire, Social Security, Medicare and more, use the tabs or pull-down menu at the top of the page for links to hundreds of additional articles.

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