As we grow older, maintaining a healthy mind is just as important as maintaining a healthy body. With Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month upon us, there's no better time to explore the different ways we can keep our cognitive health in check. Aging may bring about a number of changes, but with the right tools and mindset, we can ensure a healthy aging process and prevent cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease. In this blog, we'll discuss five simple ways to boost your cognitive health and promote healthy aging and Alzheimer's prevention.
Control Your Cholesterol and Blood Pressure Levels
High cholesterol and high blood pressure increase your risk of heart disease and stroke, which can contribute to the development of memory loss, or even different types of dementia. Good cardiovascular health (healthy blood sugar, cholesterol, blood pressure levels) as well as maintaining a healthy weight is associated with increased cognitive function. This is a key factor in Alzheimer's prevention.
Eat a Healthy Diet
The things you put into your body make a big difference in your cognitive and remembering abilities. Vitamin-rich foods will maintain and improve cognitive function, while foods that are high in saturated fats can negatively impact memory and other brain function. Following diets such as the MIND (Mediterranean Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay) Diet could maximize the positive effects on brain function, and in turn, prevent Alzheimer’s. This diet includes foods from 10 brain-healthy food groups: green leafy vegetables, nuts, berries, beans, whole grains, fish, poultry, olive oil and wine. It also limits five unhealthy food groups: red meats, butter, cheese, pastries, sweets, fast and fried foods.
Get Regular Exercise
Through regular physical activity, blood flow to the brain is maintained, and in turn, reduces your risk of conditions such as high blood pressure which is associated with developing dementia. By promoting a physically active lifestyle in older adults, one-third of dementia cases worldwide could potentially be delayed. For this reason, it is important to continue an active lifestyle throughout your life, and into the years when dementia is a possibility.
Stimulate Your Mind
Keeping your mind busy through a mentally stimulating job or hobby could help your brain to build up a cognitive reserve; meaning that even if you develop a brain disease or other challenges, your brain will still have the ability to function properly. Another way to stimulate your mind is by consistently learning new things and teaching yourself new skills and hobbies. Continuing to adopt new skills and technologies has the potential to reduce or delay the cognitive decline and changes that come with aging.
Staying in touch with, and actively engaging and seeing friends and family has positive impacts on the brain. The stimulation that comes with discussing life and seeing people outside of your immediate circle is beneficial to delaying cognitive decline. Seniors who experience consistent social engagement will have a lower risk of dementia than those with consistently low social engagement.
Carefor offers various programs and services that can assist your loved ones in all the above categories, especially with exercise, socialization, and brain stimulation. Some of these programs include the Adult Day Programs, the Vince Malette Functional Fitness Program, and the Let’s Get Together Program to name a few. To learn more about our programs visit https://carefor.ca/services/respite-services.
These healthy aging tips do not definitively guarantee that by following these guidelines, you will not develop Alzheimer’s. However, if you implement these practices into your daily lives, the chances of Alzheimer’s progression is much slimmer.