Dementia can be a difficult struggle for patients and families alike, and it can be a difficult condition to prevent, because the research isn’t entirely clear what causes it.
Scientists are still making new discoveries about the brain on a regular basis. But a healthy and active lifestyle, coupled with social connection, can help the brain remain active into the senior years. Below are some of the common steps that people can take to help prevent dementia in their senior years.
5 Common Steps to Prevent Dementia and Live a Healthy Lifestyle
A Well-Balanced Diet – A diet full of fruits and vegetables, such as the Mediterranean Diet, is rich in the antioxidants that are necessary for brain health. It also promotes the omega-3 fatty acids found in fish, that help to protect the brain.
The Mediterranean Diet is promoted as heart healthy, but also protects the brain. Here is an overview of what the diet looks like, provided by the Mayo Clinic.
Plenty of Cardiovascular Exercise – Physical activity is good for the heart, circulation, your weight, and brain health. You can start with small amounts of physical activity such as a short walk, and build up over time. The Alzheimer’s Society recommends that you aim for 150 minutes of moderate aerobic activity per week, and 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic activity such as jogging, biking, or swimming.
Develop Social Connections – Maintaining a wide range of social connections through your life can help keep people mentally active and ward off dementia. Joining and participating in organizations, volunteering, and maintaining a full social life can help.
Maintain Intellectual Activities – Maintaining an active mind can help you prevent dementia. It’s never too late to take a course or learn a language. Regularly doing puzzles, playing games or board games, or reading challenging books can also help.
Quit Smoking and Drink Less – Smoking cigarettes can put you at higher risk for dementia, among other health conditions. It impairs the circulation of blood through the body, including into the brain. Now is the time to quit. Higher levels of binge drinking have also been associated with dementia.
Dementia Can Be Serious
Dementia is a loss of mental skills that can overwhelm your daily life. It can undermine your ability to think or plan. Dementia acts differently in every person, but it can gradually become worse over time. The chances of developing dementia increase with age, but a healthy lifestyle can help you prevent these effects.