It’s June, the month of Father’s Day, graduations, weddings, and perhaps most importantly for older adults, Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness! This campaign reminds not only seniors but people of all ages to learn ways to keep our brains happy and healthy and know the signs of Alzheimer’s, dementia, and other brain diseases. The Alzheimer’s Association estimates that 6.7 million Americans aged 65 and older are living with the disease and 73 percent are age 75 and older.
What Seniors Can Do During Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month
Get screened. The National Memory Screening Program offers free and confidential memory screenings on an ongoing basis. Participants answer a list of questions to see if they or a senior loved one might have Alzheimer’s symptoms.
Take a “Memory Walk.” These fundraising events sponsored by the Alzheimer’s Association are held to support care of patients and research into finding a cure.
Recognize a caregiver. Caring for an older adult who is suffering from early, middle or late dementia symptoms certainly is challenging and often exhausting. Show your support to this person, whether she or he is a family caregiver or a professional caregiver, with a kind gesture.
Become an advocate. Visit the Alzheimer’s Association website to join its network of Alzheimer’s advocates who are asked to take simple actions to influence national health policy and help spread awareness.
What You May Not Know About Alzheimer’s and Other Brain Diseases
Coffee may boost memory. Recent research suggests that caffeine has a positive effect on delaying memory decline in older people.
Heart disease may worsen memory. Studies have shown that having heart disease can play a role in heightening rise of dementia or Alzheimer’s. A condition called vascular dementia stems from a narrowing of blood vessels that results in low levels of oxygen in the brain.
Treatment costs are high. It is estimated that the costs for treating Alzheimer’s disease will hit a trillion dollars in 2050. Last year, it cost the US economy $321 billion to treat Alzheimer’s.
What You Can Do to Keep Your Brain Healthy and Happy
Taking care of your brain health is essential for overall well-being and perhaps lowering your risk for dementia or Alzheimer’s. Here are nine ways you can help keep your brain healthy:
Stay mentally active. Engage in activities that stimulate your brain, such as puzzles, reading, learning a new language, or playing musical instruments. These activities can help improve cognitive function and memory.
Exercise regularly. Physical exercise not only benefits your body but also your brain. Engaging in regular aerobic exercise, like walking, swimming, or cycling, can improve blood flow to the brain, enhance memory, and reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Maintain a healthy diet. Consume a well-balanced diet rich in fruits, vegetables, whole grains, lean proteins, and healthy fats. Antioxidant-rich foods, such as berries and leafy greens, can help protect the brain from oxidative stress.
Get enough sleep. Aim for 7-9 hours of quality sleep each night. Sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating memories, promoting brain health, and enhancing cognitive function.
Manage stress. Chronic stress can have a negative impact on the brain. Engage in stress-reducing activities like meditation, deep breathing exercises, or hobbies to help lower stress levels and improve brain health.
Socialize regularly. Maintaining social connections and engaging in social activities can help improve brain function and reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Stay connected with friends, join clubs or organizations, or volunteer in your community.
Limit alcohol consumption. Excessive alcohol consumption can have detrimental effects on the brain. If you choose to drink, do so in moderation and follow recommended guidelines.
Quit smoking. Smoking is associated with a higher risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Quitting smoking can have numerous health benefits, including improved brain health.
Protect your head. Take precautions to prevent head injuries, such as wearing seat belts in cars, using helmets while cycling or participating in sports, and making your home safe to prevent falls.
Supporting Senior Wellness
These steps are not a guarantee against brain diseases like Alzheimer’s, but they can contribute to maintaining brain health and reducing the risk of cognitive decline. It’s always a good idea to consult with a healthcare professional for personalized advice and guidance.
Here at Amada Senior Care, we care about not just the wellness of your senior loved one but also their overall happiness. Our caregivers go above and beyond to support our senior clients in activities of daily living and to provide them with companionship.
“What Seniors Can Do to Support Brain Health,” written by Michelle Flores, Amada blog contributor.