This time of year, there’s plenty of spookiness to startle and sometimes even downright terrify us, but one fear that many of us carry throughout the year is the fear of cognitive decline as we age. While it’s true that dementia and other types of Alzheimer’s disease are more prevalent as we grow older, it’s also true that there are steps we can each take today to maintain a healthy brain and reduce our risk for cognitive decline:
- Maintain Good Overall Health. A number of health conditions can affect cognitive functioning, but the good news is we have some control over our ability to avoid them, such as following a healthy diet and exercise plan to maintain heart health and manage chronic conditions such as diabetes, and getting regular medical checkups to stay in optimal physical health.
- Stay Safe. Some studies have noted an elevated risk for dementia in those who have suffered moderate to severe traumatic brain injury. Safety measures such as wearing a helmet when bicycling, wearing seatbelts in the car, reducing fall risks through education, and refraining from driving while impaired by alcohol or medications can reduce the risk for brain injury.
- Be Aware of Medicine Side Effects. As beneficial as medications are, combinations of certain types of drugs can result in brain complications such as memory loss, confusion, delusion, and hallucinations. Review a full list of medications with a doctor experienced in polypharmacy (one who understands the interactions of different medication combinations) to make sure the combinations you or a loved one is taking are safe.
- Stay Social. Loneliness and social isolation have shown to be connected to a higher incidence of dementia and other cognitive problems. For the elderly, this is especially concerning, as it can become more challenging to leave home due to physical infirmities and/or the inability to drive – but it’s imperative to ensure seniors stay socially active.
Nightingale Homecare, the Arizona home health care experts, are available to help seniors keep a healthy brain, body and mind through our professional in-home care services. Customized to each individual, we can help in a variety of ways:
- Friendly companionship to keep isolation and loneliness at bay
- Encouragement and participation in physician-approved exercise programs
- Fall risk assessments and assistance with ambulation and mobility
- Help with personal care tasks, such as bathing and dressing
- Preparation of nutritious meals
- Medication reminders
- Transportation and accompaniment to medical appointments, fun outings, and more
- Plus a full range of skilled nursing care services
For more information about our in-home care for seniors in the Phoenix area, you can reach us any time at (602) 504-1555.