Alzheimer’s is defined as a progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. There are a variety of reasons one can develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, including family history, age, environment, lifestyle and coexisting medical conditions. But what if it could be prevented? Although there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s, researchers have been focusing on ways to slow the progression of the disease through changes in one’s daily lifestyle.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, more than 5 million Americans are currently living with Alzheimer’s, with someone developing the disease every 66 seconds. The good news is that if you work to incorporate more healthy habits into your daily life, you can not only reduce your risk for cognitive decline, but also decrease your risk for other chronic conditions such as osteoporosis, heart disease, type 2 diabetes and high blood pressure.
Here are a few healthy habits that can help you reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s:
Exercise Regularly. There are many benefits to regular exercise for seniors, but studies have also found that regular physical activity can help protect the brain. When you exercise, your body pumps more blood, increasing the number of small blood vessels that supply blood to your brain.
Eat a Nutritious Diet. Enjoying a healthy diet can not only help reduce the risk for cognitive decline, but also decrease your risk for other chronic conditions associated with being overweight. Researchers have found that certain “brain” foods with essential vitamins and minerals known for dementia prevention, such as blueberries, caffeine, leafy greens, nuts, cinnamon and fish can have positive impacts on brain health as you age.
Get Quality Sleep. Recent studies have discovered a link between poor sleep and higher levels of beta-amyloids, the brain clogging proteins that further interfere with sleep. Additionally, deep sleep is necessary for the mind to recover, form memories and flush out toxins.
Keep Your Brain Active. Regular stimulation of the brain is another factor associated with reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s or other dementias. Try incorporating puzzles, crosswords or brain teasers into your daily routine to keep the brain active.
Manage Your Stress. There are a variety of ways high levels of stress can impact the body and brain. For example, chronic stress can lead to shrinkage of a key area in the brain associated with memory and can negatively impact nerve growth. Managing your stress levels through meditation or deep-breathing exercises can make you feel more at ease and keep your brain healthier, longer.
Create Social Connections. Maintaining an active social life can have numerous benefits on the overall health of seniors. As humans, we thrive in social settings, so keep building strong connections or new friendships as you age to keep your brain healthier.
Symphony Senior Living is renowned for their leadership and expertise in the field of memory care. The Moments® Memory Care Program at Symphony specializes in slowing the progression of Alzheimer’s and other dementia. To learn more about personalized memory care and support from Symphony, contact us today at 613-793-8241.