Alzheimer’s Prevention: What You Should Know
Anyone who has been touched by the disease of Alzheimer’s knows the pain of losing a loved one or family member this way. Nearly 44 million individuals were reported to have Alzheimer’s in 2015, meaning hundreds of thousands of individuals and families are watching a loved one slip away slowly, one memory at a time.
While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, some studies suggest that taking preventive steps throughout one’s life may help to off-set or delay the onset of Alzheimer’s. Here are a few steps that you or a loved one can take to help prevent this disease:
- Stay active mentally
Some studies suggest that staying mentally active can help lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. While there is not yet concrete insight into why doing things like completing cross word puzzles, learning new things or simply engaging in a fun, healthy debate might help with prevention, scientists believe that consistent brain activity keeps the connections between nerve cells active and functioning.
- Maintain a healthy diet and exercise regimen
Keeping the brain healthy may be just like keeping the rest of the body healthy. A heart-healthy diet (low sugar intake and low fat intake) and regular exercise keeps the vascular system healthy and the latest Alzheimer’s research suggests that vascular health helps the brain stay healthy, as well.
- Protect your head.
Some research shows a correlation between individuals who experience head trauma in their lifetimes and individuals who develop dementia or Alzheimer’s disease. While these results are not conclusive, it is still important to take steps to prevent head injuries:
- Wear a helmet or headgear when playing high-contact sports like football
- Always wear a seat belt
- Stay alert at sporting events for players or balls heading your direction
- Make sure all railings in your home, particularly high on staircases, are sturdy to help avoid falls
- Know your family history.
Some studies suggest that Alzheimer’s disease could be genetic. Knowing your risk can help you or a loved one take extra preventive steps to stave off or prevent the onset of the disease. For example, you may want to visit a specialist early on to find out if there are certain medicines you can take, or add another visit to the gym to your weekly routine.
You can also begin to research what sort of care you might want to receive if you do contract the disease and make your wishes clear to your family. For example, you might want to find an assisted living community that will allow you or your loved one to “age in place,” meaning that the community will provide care for you at whatever level is needed throughout the stages of the disease.
The bottom line is that while researchers have been unable to pinpoint exact causes of or a cure for dementia and Alzheimer’s disease, their work definitely points in one direction: the healthier you are overall, the better it can be for your brain. Even simple steps like taking a walk after dinner or limiting processed foods can help.
At Generations, keeping our residents healthy, active and happy is our top priority. Contact us to learn more about our independent and assisted living communities.