November is Alzheimer’s Disease Awareness Month, which is a time for everyone to remember the importance of brain health. Today, Alzheimer’s Disease impacts six million Americans. By 2050 experts believe the number will more than double to 13 million. According to data from the Alzheimer’s Association, one in three seniors dies with Alzheimer’s or another dementia, which is more than breast cancer and prostate cancer combines. Currently, there is no treatment for Alzheimer’s Disease and scientist aren’t even certain what causes it. However, there are many lifestyle changes seniors can make to promote brain health over the long term.
5 Strategies for Promoting Brain Health
While the causes of Alzheimer’s and other dementias are unknown, that doesn’t mean there’s nothing you can do to protect yourself. That’s because researchers have identified several lifestyle habits that can dramatically lower you lifetime risk of developing one of these terrible diseases. With that in mind, here are five strategies you can implement to protect your brain health as you age:
Get Plenty of Exercise
Exercise is the fountain of youth, particular for older people. It promotes blood flow, increases flexibility, protects heart health, and reduces inflammation. Even better, you don’t have to be a world-class athlete to see the benefits of exercise. In fact, 30 minutes of moderate daily exercise is all it takes. Studies show that regular exercise in mid life cuts the risk of developing dementia by 30% and Alzheimer’s Disease 45%.
Eat a Nutritious Diet
People who eat diets that are low in fat, preservatives, and salt help protect their brain health. Many doctors recommend their patients follow the Mediterranean diet which consists of plant-based foods, whole grains, fish and healthy fats like olive oil. Research shows that people who follow the Mediterranean diet are less likely to develop Alzheimer’s Disease than people who don’t.
Stay Socially Engaged
It’s a sad fact of life that older people can easily become socially isolated. Loss of family and friends, acute illness, mobility issues, and more can all cause seniors to withdraw and miss out on the benefits of interacting with other people. Unfortunately, social isolation has significant negative health consequences. Studies reveal that people who are socially isolated have a 50% percent increased risk of dementia. As a result, staying engaged with other people is critical for maintaining brain health.
Protect Your Hearing
You may be asking what hearing has to do with brain health. Quite a bit, as it turns out. A 2020 study showed that hearing loss was one of the leading risk factors for dementia. According to the study’s authors, “[h]earing loss can make the brain work harder, forcing it to strain to hear and fill in the gaps. That comes at the expense of other thinking and memory systems.” Hearing loss accounts for 8% of all dementia patients, which is 800,000 new cases each year.
Prioritize Healthy Sleep
Many scientists believe that sleep is when your brain clears out unhealthy proteins like the ones that cause Alzheimer’s Disease. That’s why good sleep is so important for brain health. So-called “good sleep” is characterized by 7-8 hours of consecutive sleep rather than shorter increment. Conditions like sleep apnea can make it harder for older people to get sustained sleep. Fortunately, there are many different treatments that can help you overcome those limitations and sleep soundly throughout the night.
In-Home Caregivers Can Help
Of course, prioritizing all these things can be difficult for older people. One of the hallmarks of aging when people begin to struggle with the activities of daily living that younger people take for granted. However, in-home caregivers can help seniors age in healthier ways by supporting activities like health eating, social engagement, and regular primary care visits. If you’d like to learn more about how an in-home caregiver can improve the quality of life for a senior you care about, contact us today. We can work together to protect their brain health and facilitate increased happiness and satisfaction during their later years.
About Generations Home Care
Generations Home Care personalized in-home care and support services help those recovering from illness, injury, or surgery, living with a chronic disease, or dealing with the natural process of aging. We help people live a fuller, healthier, and independent life.
Our caregivers are trained in the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recommended COVID-19 safety precautions. We offer levels of care ranging from companionship, to respite for the primary family caregiver, to homemaking services, to assistance with activities of daily living, to Alzheimer’s and dementia care. Generations Home Care takes a holistic approach and emphasizes a consistent, client-centered plan of care.
Our Specialty Services Include:
- Rehab or hospital-to-home programs for safe discharge.
- Short-term post-operative care during recovery periods.
- Non-medical life management services for people with chronic conditions.
- Veteran’s connection to care program.
- Live-in services and couples care.
If you’d like to learn more about how we can help you, contact us today at 602-595-HOME (4663) or by filling out the contact form on our website.