One key tip: Stay socially active and mentally stimulated as you get older.
“This is kind of important,” said NBC News medical contributor Dr. Natalie Azar. “Really, really stay connected. [It’s even better] if you can add on top of that art or crafts or other activities like that.”
A study in the journal Neurology found people with less education actually benefited more from that social interaction, whether it was with family or friends, Azar noted.
People who socialized were 55 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment, researchers at the Mayo Clinic found. Those who painted, sculpted, photographed and drew in middle and old age were 73 percent less likely to develop mild cognitive impairment than those who did not.
Staying socially engaged is now considered a key factor in brain health, so keep in touch with the people around you, reach out to new friends and indulge in your interests to keep your mind sharp.
Dr. Ephraim Engleman, a rheumatologist who worked and played the violin until his death at 104, once told TODAY he thought exercise was "over-rated," but said his work and music were very important. He was also a member of a men's social club dedicated to art.
"It's very enjoyable, and it makes me happy, and that's important no matter what your age," he said. "It's just important to stay engaged, mentally active, whether you're 30 or 103."