Healthy Lifestyle and cognitive decline
A study published on July 20, 2017 issue of The Lancet, a highly regarded peer-reviewed medical journal, demonstrated that 35% of dementia cases could be prevented if people followed certain lifestyle practices throughout their lives. Said study co-author Dr Lon Schneider of the Keck School of Medicine at the University of Southern California, “There’s been a great deal of focus on developing medicines to prevent dementia, including Alzheimer’s disease. But we can’t lose sight of the real major advances we’ve already made in treating dementia, including preventive approaches.”
The research, which was presented at the Alzheimer’s Association’s 2017 International Conference, named nine specific controllable risk factors: Educational and Mental Stimulation, Social Connections, Depression, Hearing Loss, Smoking, Hypertension, Obesity, Diabetes and Exercise.
How Caregiver support might promote exercise for the body and the brain.
Our Caregivers have been receiving training and tools to address healthy cooking, some relaxation techniques and healthy habits to promote sleep that supports and avoid some of the risk factors related in the research, but in this article, let’s focus on exercise for the body and mind.
Exercise for the Brain, Education and mental stimulation
The author’s of the study said that the longer a young person stays in school, the greater their cognitive reserve, which they define as “a resilience to cognitive decline caused by the brain strengthening its networks and therefore continuing functioning in later life despite the damage.” Mentally stimulating activities are recommended throughout life.
To address this challenge, our caregivers may provide guidance for simple exercises like games where the senior need to respond about names of the family members, locations or even dates in family photos and videos. Hobbies are another big aspect but most of the time, support is needed. Arts, reading, crafts, gardening, playing instruments may require some support and dedication as well. Challenging with word and numbers games is another way to maintain the brain active. This is why at Assisting Hands he developed customized word puzzles with topics related to the patient, family or any topic that sparks engagement and invite to a stimulate the Brain. (If you want to know how this service works, check this article and let us know that you are interested.) [Word Puzzles to Battle Alzheimer’s]
Exercise for the Body
Physical activity promotes all-around health in people of every age, helping to prevent conditions that damage the brain. Indeed, physical activity can have a positive effect on each of the other factors in this list!
The authors emphasized that brain health is a lifelong process. Said lead author Prof. Gill Livingston of University College London in the UK, “Although dementia is diagnosed in later life, the brain changes usually begin to develop years before, with risk factors for developing the disease occurring throughout life, not just in old age. We believe that a broader approach to prevention of dementia which reflects these risk factors will benefit our aging societies and help to prevent the rising number of dementia cases globally.”
And although brain health begins in childhood, it’s never too late to make brain-healthy choices. The study authors noted that even seniors who are already living with cognitive impairment can benefit from positive lifestyle interventions, such as improved social contact, exercise and appropriate activities. Dr. Schneider reported that these interventions can replace the use of antipsychotic drugs, which have harmful side effects.
Neurobics / Aerobics for the Brain.
The formal definition of Neurobics talks about mental exercises designed to create new neural pathways in the brain by using the senses in unconventional ways. The exercises for this technique include sensory stimulation and proprioception. A well-trained caregiver might guide these exercises during the daily routines.
At Assisting Hands we understand about these topics and how a caregiver may provide the difference. If you want to receive more information, call us or email us to firstname.lastname@example.org