Approximately nine million people in the U.S. currently live with dementia – a figure projected to rise significantly over the next decade. More often seen in those aged 65+, dementia can be a real game-changer for every senior – and family – that it touches. Fortunately, as a senior, there are several steps you can take to reduce your risk of developing dementia. What follows are five of the better ones.
What is Dementia?
Dementia describes a group of symptoms that affect memory, social skills, and cognitive abilities in ways that interfere with a person’s daily activities. Dementia isn’t one specific disease per se, but several different diseases can cause it.
For example, Alzheimer’s disease is the most common cause of progressive dementia in aging adults. And even though dementia typically causes or worsens memory loss, memory loss in and of itself may have different causes.
How to Keep Your Mind Active & Healthy
Here are five proven ways to sharpen your mental acuity and brain health as a senior:
Doing regular physical activity is one of the best ways to reduce your risk of dementia. There are also two main types of physical activity: aerobic activity and strength-building activity. Both are good for your heart, circulation, weight, and mental wellbeing.
Group activities like Yoga, water aerobics, or hiking clubs are a great way to connect and interact with people – which ultimately helps keep your brain active and engaged.
Eat a brain-healthy diet
Although no single nutrient, food, or ingredient can improve brain health by itself, eating a healthy, well-balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia. Evidence indicates that a diet rich in fruit, veggies, and cereals – and low in sugar and red meats – can help protect you against cognitive decline.
Experts recommend using vegetable and plant oils for cooking and dressing, for instance, olive oil and rapeseed oil. To keep your brain health strong, try to avoid solid fats like lard, butter, or ghee while increasing your intake of oily fish like salmon and mackerel.
Stay mentally active
Participating in mental or social activities may boost your brain’s ability to cope with disease, relieve stress, and improve your mood. As an added benefit, doing these activities may also help delay or even prevent dementia from developing.
Find brain-teasing activities that you enjoy and then do them regularly. In general, anything that engages your mind, helps you process information, and hones your thinking skills is good for reducing your dementia risk.
If you’re having trouble getting started, here’s a list of activities to try:
- Arts and crafts
- Playing card or board games
- Doing puzzles, crosswords, or quizzes
- Doing volunteer work
- Creative writing or keeping a diary
- Learning a new language
- Playing a musical instrument
Cigarette smoking is harmful to the blood circulation throughout your entire body, including the brain. In other words: If you smoke, you’re putting yourself at a much higher risk of developing dementia later in life.
Although it’s never too late to kick the smoking habit, the earlier you stop, the more brain damage you will avoid. If smoking is an issue for you, speak to your doctor or pharmacist about ways to quit – including smoking cessation classes and nicotine patches.
Drink alcohol in moderation
Drinking too much alcohol at one time exposes your brain and other organs to high levels of harmful chemicals – increasing your risk of developing dementia. Try to limit your intake to no more than 14 units of alcohol each week, an amount equal to roughly one pint of beer or a small glass of wine daily.
There you have it: Five reliable ways to reduce your risk for developing dementia so you can enjoy a happier, healthier, more fulfilling life as your retirement years play out!
In-Home Dementia Care for Seniors in Naples, FL
Being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s can be nerve-wracking for you and your family. Put your mind at ease by contacting the caring professionals from Home Instead® Senior Care. Conveniently available in Naples, Fort Myers, and Charlotte Country, FL, our senior care services help to enhance the aging experience by providing practical support at home delivered with a human touch.
Our reliable in-home solutions help aging adults stay engaged in everyday life with tailor-made support to stay safe and well at home. At Home Instead, it is always our mission to provide a care plan personalized to your family’s needs – bringing you all comfort, companionship, and peace of mind. To learn more or schedule a time to talk with one of our home care specialists, please visit us at www.homeinsteadswfl.com.