As we age, the number and risk for illnesses and diseases rapidly increases and our health becomes a primary concern. One of the most frightening conditions that has an onset later in life is Alzheimer’s or dementia. In fact according to Alz.com, Alzheimer’s is the 6th leading cause of death in the United States. With over 5 million Americans living with Alzheimer’s and that number on the rise, the preemptive prevention of the illness is important. There are currently no pharmaceutical drugs or methods that have significant effects to decrease symptoms or progression of Alzheimer’s and dementia. Fortunately, there are plenty of lifestyle choices and diet methods that we can adopt that can help minimize the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s.
In some instances, Alzheimer’s Disease is referred to as the “diabetes of the brain.” Establishing and adhering to a healthy diet can help reduce inflammation, which will protect your brain. Specific tips include cutting down on sugar, limited refined carbs, avoiding trans fats, limiting processed food and adopting a Mediterranean diet (plenty of vegetables, beans, whole grains, fish, and olive oil).
A study from the Alzheimer’s Research & Prevention Foundation found that regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by up to 50 percent. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of exercise each week. Pump up your brain by building muscle. Remember to include exercises that are focused on balance and coordination as well!
Humans are meant to be social. Too much isolation can actually hinder our brains. Try to regularly socialize and connect with other humans face to face. Ways to be social does not necessarily mean being the life of the party, you could also volunteer, join a club, visit a community center, take exercise or other classes, or get to know your neighbors.
By learning new things throughout the course of your life, you are constantly challenging your brain. This will make you less likely to get Alzheimer’s or dementia later in life. Simple things like learning something new, practicing memorizing things, or playing strategy games, puzzles, or riddles can improve mental stimulation.
The brain can only handle so much stress and constant stress can physically impact nerve cell growth, therefore increasing the risk of Alzheimer’s. Try to take a few minutes each day to quietly take deep breaths, include relaxation strategies in your daily schedule, find your inner peace, prioritize fun, and always having a sense of humor are proven techniques to reduce stress.
Sleep has recently been identified as a possible risk factor for Alzheimer’s. Establishing a regular sleep schedule by going to bed and getting up at the same time each day and night. Creating a relaxing bed ritual, quieting your inner chatter, and getting screened for sleep apnea are also tips that will help in your prevention efforts.
Adopting and maintaining a healthy lifestyle is important in your prevention efforts of dementia. Recently, people have turned to using certain essential oils to decrease their chances of obtaining the disease. Essential oils have been found to promote cognitive well-being, but they also are an asset to your overall health. These oils can help improve memory, lift your mood, and even make you more focused. The most common oils used for dementia prevention are Sage and Spanish Sage, peppermint, and lavender. Sage is known to improve memory and supports nervous system functions. Peppermint has also been proven to improve memory, as well as boost digestion and soothe tense muscles. Finally, lavender improves mood and alertness, while also being a great option to relieve stress.
While dementia is one of the most concerning conditions facing older adults and with the pharmaceutical prevention options being limited, these simple health and well-being tips may reduce your risk.
If you need professional help for yourself, a parent, spouse, or loved one with Alzheimer’s or dementia or other general health concerns, call us at 916-933-9777 or visit our website. Our professionals are more than happy to serve those in need of caregiving assistance in Sacramento, El Dorado, Placerville, and Yolo areas. For daily tips, advice, and news, follow us on Facebook, Twitter, LinkedIn, YouTube, and Google Plus.