Good news! Latest statistics are showing a dramatic reduction in the number of diagnosed cases of Alzheimer’s disease. One of the main reasons cited for this improvement is the education level of our society. An increase in education may be linked to a larger reserve of cognitive functioning – so that even if certain neurons and synapses are lost from the development of Alzheimer’s disease, there’s a backup available to prevent dementia from taking hold. So the message is: never stop learning!
Beyond taking a class or learning a new skill, there are other steps we can take that may help with the prevention of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. These healthy habits are a great place to start:
- Exercise. Among its countless other benefits, sticking to a regular, ongoing exercise regimen can potentially cut a person’s risk of developing Alzheimer’s nearly in half. It can also help reduce the progression of the disease in those already diagnosed. The goal is to strive for at least 150 minutes per week of moderately intensive exercise, including cardio, balance/coordination, and strength training activities.
- Socialization. Connecting with others on a regular basis helps older adults stave off isolation and is also believed to help protect against Alzheimer’s.
- Nutrition. Experts recommend replacing sugar, refined carbs and trans fats with a Mediterranean diet that includes lots of fruits and veggies, whole grains, fish and olive oil. Drinking tea each day could also help improve memory and slow the aging of the brain.
- Sleep. Studies are linking poor sleep habits with not just a symptom of Alzheimer’s disease, but a risk factor. If your senior loved one is unable to obtain an average of 8 hours of quality sleep each night, check with his or her physician for recommendations.
- Relax. Stress is extremely hard on our brains, causing a reduction in the growth of nerve cells and even shrinking the area related to memory. Try lowering stress levels through regular relaxing activities, favorite hobbies and interests, and quiet, reflective time to pray or meditate.
The Phoenix in-home senior care team at Nightingale Homecare can provide more tips, resources, and assistance to help seniors and the families who care for them to thrive and remain healthy. Our professional caregivers are skilled in planning and preparing healthy meals, helping seniors engage in enjoyable activities, exercising, and serving as a friendly companion. We also offer a full range of skilled nursing and therapy services, to ensure seniors’ needs are fully met. Call us at 602-504-1555 to learn more!