Your risk for developing dementia isn’t just luck of the draw. More and more research shows that lifestyle changes play a more significant role in overall health than genetics. Do you want to keep your brain as healthy as possible? Consider adopting some of these behaviors proven to keep your brain fit into old age:
We know the physical benefits of exercise and more research is showing the cognitive and psychological benefits as well. In fact, higher levels of physical activity can lower dementia risk by 30 to 40 percent. Don’t have time for the gym? Don’t worry! Even as little as 15 minutes of exercise a day, three days a week can help maintain brain health.
Chronic stress can impair memory and brain functioning. Meditation has been shown to reduce stress hormones and increase gray matter in the brain. A higher volume of gray matter—an important nerve tissue found in the brain—is associated with higher cognitive function in older adults. Studies show that gray matter plays an important part in memory, muscle control, and sensory perception. Lighting a candle, closing your eyes and focusing attention on your breath may be the single easiest way to protect against Alzheimer’s.
3) Eat Well
Eating a balanced diet of fish, fruit, vegetables, and nuts can lower your risk of developing dementia. Research shows that older people who eat these foods maintain higher levels of cognitive ability. Don’t worry about picking up produce from the farmer’s market, bottled fruit or vegetable juice works too.
Maintaining a strong social network has been shown to reduce dementia risk. The emotional support and mental stimulation that friends provide helps keep the brain active and healthy. Researchers at University of Michigan found that after just 10 minutes of conversation, subjects did better on a short-term memory test. Make time to connect with family and friends every day.
5) Take Vitamins
A vitamin deficiency—especially vitamin B12—can increase your risk of dementia. Many older adults don’t get enough nutrients from food. Adding the correct vitamin regimen can help keep the brain healthy into old age.
At Home Care Assistance, our caregivers are trained in the Balanced Care Method, which incorporates the above strategies. Learn more about our expert caregivers, and how they can help you or a loved one.