Caffeine has gotten a bad rap over the years due to its short-term effects on the nervous system. While there’s a need to keep coffee consumption, the most common source of caffeine, in check, there are some positive attributes associated with the stimulant that may provide an added layer of defense against some of the common cognitive issues associated with old age.
1. Enhanced Reasoning & Memory
In a study involving military personnel who lacked sufficient sleep, 200 mg doses of caffeine increased logical thinking and reasoning skills. Seniors who have difficulty sleeping for one reason or another may also enjoy similar benefits, although efforts should still be made to restore regular sleep cycles.
A moderate amount of caffeine can also increase long-term memory. This is because the caffeine boosts the brain’s consolidation process, which can help seniors retain information for longer. However, too much caffeine could make your loved one feel anxious, which impedes the formation of long-term memories.
2. Decreased Risk of Dementia & Alzheimer’s
A handful of studies involving coffee and tea drinking suggest caffeine may be associated with a reduction in cognitive decline with age. Researchers from one study concluded drinking 3–5 cups of coffee per day during middle age may reduce the risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s later in life by as much as 65 percent.
When scientists studied the brains of people with Alzheimer’s, they noticed a trend. Many people with cognitive impairment had a specific type of protein buildup in their brains. This protein, called tau, may be responsible for the death of brain cells. Caffeine counteracts this buildup by blocking the processes that lead to harmful tau protein.
Though caffeine may be helpful on many levels, a more reliable way to ensure your loved one’s brain remains healthy is to hire a professional caregiver. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of homecare. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
3. Reduced Stroke Risk
A Swedish study involving women between the ages of 49 and 83 found those who consumed more than a cup of coffee per day had a reduced risk of stroke. A Hawaiian study involving men with high blood pressure also noted a reduction in stroke risk among subjects who drank caffeinated coffee on a regular basis.
As with all lifestyle and dietary habits, consult your loved one’s physician about appropriate daily amounts of caffeine. If your senior loved one needs help managing an illness or assistance with daily tasks, make sure you choose a top-rated provider of in-home care. Highland Park Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one live a happier and healthier life in the golden years. From the mentally stimulating activities in our Cognitive Therapeutics Method to our friendly Care Managers who are available to answer your questions 24 hours a day, we offer a wide array of high-quality at-home care services.
4. Reduced Driver Errors
An Australian study involving caffeinated gum rather than coffee found participants were less fatigued. For seniors, increased alertness behind the wheel can prevent accidents. When your loved one drinks a caffeinated beverage, the caffeine goes directly to the central nervous system, effectively boosting brain activity. This can lead to enhanced muscle coordination and increased cognitive awareness.
Regularly drinking a moderate amount of coffee or tea can give your loved one a mental boost throughout the day. More than 80 drugs are known to interact with caffeine, so seniors looking to boost their cognitive functioning with a few cups of java a day should check with their doctors first.
Before making any changes to your loved one’s diet, make sure to check with his or her physician in case the change could negatively impact a preexisting condition. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. Highland Park, TX, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity. Rely on the professionals at Home Care Assistance to provide high-quality compassionate care for your loved one. Give us a call today at (214) 363-3400 to learn about our flexible in-home care plans.