We recently talked about the different types of dementia, as well as some causes and symptoms of each (Dementia versus Alzheimer’s: What’s the Difference?).
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 5.4 million Americans are living with Alzheimer’s; over 99% are 65 years or older. That means over 10 percent of senior citizens have this disease. Alzheimer’s, not including the other forms of dementia, is the 6th leading cause of death in America, behind heart disease, cancer, chronic lower respiratory disease, accidents and stroke. Of the top 10 causes of death, this is the only one that cannot be prevented or cured.
Work continues around the world to determine what causes Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia so they can be prevented in the future. There was good news in 2016 when scientists from the University of Cambridge discovered a gene signature in healthy brains that pinpoints the origins of Alzheimer’s disease. We will have to wait and see if this breakthrough will lead to preventative treatments for individuals who are considered high-risk for contracting various forms of dementia.
While there is no cure for dementia or magic pill to prevent it, there are things you can do to put yourself at a lower risk of getting it as you get older.
Here are 4 ways you may reduce your risk of getting dementia:
- Eat Healthy: A lifestyle of less sodium, sugar, and processed foods, and more fruits, vegetables and lean meats may help protect the brain. This healthy nutrition lifestyle also helps to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Be Physically Active: Regular physical activity can increase blood and oxygen flow to the brain, which helps the brain’s cells. Although you should talk to your doctor before starting any type of exercise regimen, a brisk walk is a great place to start. Exercise will also help to lower high blood pressure and reduce the risk of developing Type 2 diabetes.
- Be Socially Active: Social interactions may help stimulate and strengthen the connections between nerve cells in the brain. As we get older, it is important that we do not isolate ourselves from others. Having ongoing social contact is important for our mental and emotional well-being.
- Be Mentally Active: You may still be working, so your brain is ‘in gear’ throughout the day. But once you retire you need to find something to keep you mentally active. Whether you like to play games, do puzzles, or learn something new, find the activity that will keep your mentally stimulated.
At Assisting Hands® Home Care, our skilled caregivers provide companionship for their seniors and make sure they are eating right and getting the appropriate physical activity. Whether you need someone to be with your loved one during the day, in the evening or overnight, our at-home care can accommodate your needs. You will have peace of mind knowing that they aren’t home alone when they need help with medication, fall prevention, personal care, eating or other needs.