Legacy Planning and Reducing Your Risk of Cognitive Impairment

Your cognitive abilities have a huge effect on your estate planning. If you do not develop an estate plan before your mind starts slipping, you may not legally be allowed to do so. This realization is motivation to not only initiate the estate planning process early but also take extra steps to reduce your risk of cognitive impairment.

A recent study has indicated that increasing your brain-stimulating activities can decrease the occurrence of developing mild cognitive impairment (MCI), a condition that results in dementia for 20 to 40 percent of older adults.

Mild Cognitive Impairment in Older Adults

Between 16 and 20 percent of all individuals who are 65 or older experience MCI. It is characterized by a loss of cognitive function that is noticeable, but not does interfere with daily activities. It is perhaps most well-known for its strong association with the development of Alzheimer’s disease and other forms of dementia.

Researchers have determined that having a certain genetic makeup can increase your chances of developing MCI. Scientists have dubbed this genotype APEO ℇ4. It is unclear why this particular genetic makeup increases the risk of late-onset dementia, but there does appear to be connection nonetheless.

Fortunately, you can take steps to decrease your chances of developing MCI and dementia, even if you have this particular genetic code.

Brain-stimulating Activities and MCI

A study recently published in JAMA Neurology followed 1,929 cognitively healthy seniors over four years. The study was part of the Mayo Clinic Study of Aging based in Olmsted County, Minnesota. The seniors were evaluated every 15 months for signs of cognitive decline. By the end of the four-year period, 456 participants (which was over 23 percent) developed MCI. They also determined that 26.7 percent of the participants were carriers of the APEO ℇ4 genotype.

As part of their research, they tracked the types of activities in which the seniors regularly engaged. They found that those with the lowest risk of developing MCI were often engaged in mentally stimulating activities and did not carry the APEO ℇ4 genotype. However, even those that had the APEO ℇ4 genotype could decrease their risk by engaging in brain-stimulating activities that included:

  • Playing games
  • Participating in social activities
  • Using a computer
  • Doing crafts
  • Reading books

The largest decrease in risk involved those that regularly read books.

The opposite findings were true as well—those who had the APEO ℇ4 genotype and did not engage in mentally stimulating activities were the most likely to develop MCI.

This study and others like it confirm the importance of staying mentally active even as you age. These brain-stimulating activities are some things that you can do to prolong your quality of life, and when the time comes to need things like long-term care, estate planning, and other elder care/planning needs, we are here to help. Don’t wait to get started. Call today.

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Written by Legacy Planning Law Group

Legacy Planning Law Group is dedicated to working with individuals and families to help protect the assets they have built throughout their life, and make everything simpler for families who have lost a loved one. We help thoughtful people achieve the peace of mind that comes with planning their personal legacy and passing on family harmony.