If there was just one word that would frighten any person, I think that word would be “Dementia”. Many of us have witnessed family members or friends afflicted by dementia in one of its many forms, including Alzheimer’s disease. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, recent research is showing that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia. <!–split–>
It is now recommended that DAILY:
- Break a Sweat: Daily exercise that raises the heart rate increases blood flow to the brain and body.
- Hit the Books: Daily work at learning new things. It keeps your brain active.
- Butt Out: Smoking increases risk of dementia. By quitting, the risk for dementia decreases to levels of non -smokers.
- Follow Your Heart: Risk factors for heart disease and stroke, such as obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes increase the risk of dementia. Be proactive in caring for your heart and body.
- Heads Up: Brain injury can raise your risk of dementia. Protect yourself, wear your seat belt, use a helmet for sports and cycling, and take steps to prevent falls.
- Fuel Up Right: Eat a healthy balanced diet, with plenty of fresh vegetables and fruit to reduce the risk of dementia.
- Catch Some Zzzzzz’s: Poor sleep, such as sleep apnea, insomnia, or just not having a regular sleep schedule can result in problems with thinking and memory.
- Take Care of Your Mental Health: Depression is linked to dementia. If you are anxious, depressed or overwhelmed by stress, seek medical attention.
- Buddy Up: Staying socially connected supports brain health. Become a volunteer, participate in social activities, attend church functions (as well as worship), call your friends, and spend time with your family.
- Stump Yourself: Challenge your brain by trying a new hobby, assembling furniture or children’s toys, do a jigsaw puzzle, create art, do word puzzles, and play games such as bridge and trivia. Keeping your brain active has short- and long-term benefits for cognitive health.
Today and every day, start (or continue) adopting these healthy habits for your brain and body.
Your Parish Nurse, Kara Ade