Alzheimer’s and Dementia in Aging Adults
As we age, our brains experience a natural cognitive decline, making it more difficult to learn new things or remember particular events. We often refer to these lapses in memory as “senior moments.” For some adults, however, the cognitive decline associated with aging can be an early sign of Alzheimer’s or dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, 1 in 10 people over the age of 65 develops Alzheimer’s disease, with the numbers increasing every year.
There are a variety of reasons one can develop Alzheimer’s disease later in life, including family history, age, gender, environment and coexisting medical conditions. And although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, researchers are finding new ways to allow you to increase your chances of reducing your risk of developing Alzheimer’s - or at the very least, slow its progression.
Lifestyle Changes That Can Reduce Your Risk of Alzheimer’s Disease
Alzheimer’s disease is defined as progressive mental deterioration that can occur in middle or old age, due to generalized degeneration of the brain. Although you cannot control certain factors that put you at risk for developing Alzheimer’s, studies have found that certain healthy lifestyle habits have been effective in reducing your risk or delaying the symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease.
Here are a few healthy lifestyle changes you can make to reduce your risk for Alzheimer’s:
- Incorporate more brain foods into your diet. A healthy diet can be beneficial to both your physical and mental health as you age. Add more “brain foods” into your diet such as blueberries, leafy greens, moderate caffeine, nuts, cinnamon and fish to boost your brain health.
- Exercise on a regular basis. Exercising regularly can have a variety of positive impacts on your overall health and wellbeing. Alongside reducing the risk for various chronic diseases, helping manage weight, and increasing energy levels, regular exercise can improve your cognitive health. When you exercise, your body pumps more blood, increasing the number of small blood vessels that supply blood to your brain.
- Get quality sleep. Getting your beauty rest can be more important than you think. Researchers have discovered a link between poor sleep and higher levels of a brain clogging protein known as beta-amyloids. Along with increased beta-amyloids in the brain, the body requires deep sleep for the mind to recover, store memories and flush out toxins.
- Engage your brain. Physical exercise, sleep and a healthy diet are all important aspects in reducing your risk for Alzheimer’s. But, let’s not forget the most important part of improving cognitive health, the brain! Regular stimulation of the brain through puzzles, memory games or brain teasers keeps the brain active and can reduce risk for Alzheimer’s as you age.
- Create social connections. Although everyone is different, as humans we thrive on social connections with others. Research suggests that close ties with family and friends or participation in social activities can slow cognitive decline later in life and lower your risk for Alzheimer’s or dementia. Join a club, make regular plans with friends or get involved in a new hobby with others to keep building new social connections as you age.
A Supportive Environment at Western Home Communities
At Western Home Communities, we believe that life shouldn’t slow down as you age. Our vibrant senior living community in Cedar Falls, IA offers a variety of living options to meet your needs now, as well as in the future. Explore our senior living services to learn more or contact ustoday to speak with a member of our team.