If you’re beginning to become concerned about a loved one’s safety and quality of life, it might be time to consider incorporating some healthy habits to reduce the risk of dementia. Even if your loved one, or even you, haven’t quite reached that point in health, it’s important to try and stay ahead of things like dementia with some healthy habits that can be added to anyone’s daily life. At Glen Park Senior Living, our dementia assisted living facilities help patients feel safer and more comfortable knowing that we are here to help incorporate these healthy habits to reduce the risk of dementia or Alzheimer’s disease.
Dementia is a syndrome involving the loss of cognitive functionality. These types of loss include losing the ability to think clearly, memory loss, and finding reason or logic in many things in addition to the hindrance of a patient’s behavioral abilities to such an extent that it forms a major impact on their daily life and activities. Although it is most common for older people to suffer from dementia, it’s not considered a normal part of ageing and doesn’t affect all elderly folks. Moreover, dementia can commonly result in other diseases or injuries that have a direct effect on their brain, therefore the elder patients should be cared for in a safe environment to prevent unnecessary injuries that can be caused by dementia. The effects of the syndrome can be overwhelming, not only for the patient, but it can also be a hectic experience for family members and caretakers, as dementia is one of the main causes of disability and dependence among older patients.
When taking care of a loved one with dementia, it becomes increasingly more difficult by the day and caretakers or family members might need to consider memory care for them, which is a form of senior living that aims to provide intensive, specialized care for patients with memory syndromes. According to national statistics, the number of US citizens living with Alzheimer’s or dementia is drastically growing with an estimation of 5.8 million Americans older than the age of 65 living with dementia in 2020.
With ongoing scientific research on methods to prevent dementia, the physicians at the Alzheimer’s Association International Conference—one of the world’s most influential meetings of 2020—have concluded that certain healthy habits practiced during the adolescent stage can help reduce risks of dementia later on. While there are factors that cannot be changed, such as age and genetics, there are ways to reduce the risks. Updated findings from The Lancet Commission on Dementia Prevention have shown how a shift of habits during an individual’s life-span can impact their risk of developing dementia later in their life.
Stay Physically Active
Exercising regularly offers long lasting benefits. Exercise is good for your heart, helps maintain a steady circulation, enhances the fitness ability, and mental wellbeing. Finding the right physical activity that is best for you is the first step to living a healthy and vivid life. This could include non-vigorous activities such as walking, doing chores, and going shopping, or taking part in high-intensity exercises at the gym. No matter how long you exercise for, your efforts will definitely pay off.
Keep a Healthy Nutrition
Eating healthy doesn’t always mean people need to opt for crazy diets that cut out things like carbs, but rather refers to a shift in food decisions. You don’t have to eat less to be healthy, but you should focus on eating right. Some of the ways to maintain a healthy, nutritious and balanced diet includes:
- Limiting your sugar intake
- Always including at least 5 fruits and vegetables on a day basis
- Incorporating plenty of protein for stronger muscles
- Including the right amount of carbohydrates to boost your energy
- Making sure to stay hydrated and drinking at least 6-8 glasses of water daily
Smoking is packed with a myriad of negative side effects, such as affecting blood circulation in the heart, lungs, and brain. In addition to being a factor in developing dementia, smoking can lead to higher risks of having several diseases such as lung cancer, type 2 diabetes, and many other conditions. Quitting can be a difficult decision for many smokers, but there are some alternatives that can always be considered, such as substituting regular cigarettes for ones that contain less nicotine, e-cigarettes, or even gum in the process of trying to quit. Smokers who have difficulty quitting can also consult with a nearby pharmacist to explore their options and find guidance in their decision to quit smoking.
Reduce Alcohol Intake
Drinking too much alcohol can increase the risks of having dementia. For most people, the number of drinks shouldn’t exceed more than 14 units of alcohol weekly. If a person drinks more than this regularly, they can risk developing alcohol-related brain damage. While you don’t have to quit alcohol, it would be a good decision to find a healthy balance in your alcohol consumption. For those who choose to avoid high-level alcoholic drinks, there are plenty of options with lower alcohol levels like light beers, some wines and of course, non-alcoholic drinks altogether.
Exercise Your Mind
It’s key to always keep your mind active by challenging your brain with mental calculations. Finding ways to exercise your mind serves as a way to build up your brain’s abilities and helps cognitive functionality. There are several ways to challenge your mind to stay engaged, including the following:
- Study something new or pick a new hobby that interests you
- Learn a new language
- Play mind-challenging board games, like puzzles and quizzes
- Read books more often and practice writing more in journals
- Attend social events or join a club to communicate with people who share common interests
Take Care of Your Health
It’s essential to watch over ourselves and pay attention to our health. No one knows your body better than you do, so practice taking care of your health with regular checkups with a physician to keep track of your wellness. Whether you’re on medication and you notice new symptoms or start experiencing unfamiliar things to your body, don’t hesitate to consult with a medical expert.