There is no single way to prevent dementia, but most doctors agree a healthy lifestyle can reduce a senior’s risk. Even relatively minor changes such as cutting out inflammatory foods and exercising for a few minutes every day can have a major impact on mental health. The trusted El Cajon at-home caregivers at Coast Care Partners have a few tips family caregivers can use to combat dementia and enhance their senior loved one’s overall quality of life.
Switch to the MIND Diet
The MIND diet is similar to the Mediterranean diet, and it is a great option for seniors who have a family history of dementia. This diet emphasizes foods that have been proven to boost cognitive health, including leafy green vegetables, berries, nuts, fatty fish, whole grains, and beans. Seniors who are on this diet also need to avoid processed foods that could trigger brain inflammation. Some studies have shown that chronic inflammation in the brain speeds up the progression of dementia.
Treat Heart Conditions Immediately
Any health issues that impact the cardiovascular system could potentially damage the brain as well, which is why diabetes and high blood pressure are two of the leading risk factors for Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia. All seniors should schedule at least one comprehensive exam every year to have their blood pressure, heart rate, and insulin levels checked.
Protect the Head
A single acute brain injury can increase a senior’s risk of dementia by quite a bit. To prevent this type of injury, older adults who have limited balance or strength must come up with a comprehensive plan for preventing falls and other accidents, which might include installing grab bars throughout the home or using a mobility device whenever they leave the home. Seniors also need to schedule an immediate appointment with a doctor if they fall and hit their head. Even if they feel fine, some damage might have occurred without realizing it.
Develop Good Sleeping Habits
Over the last few years, multiple studies from around the world have linked chronic sleep deprivation to dementia. Some researchers believe restorative sleep allows the brain to “reset” itself by clearing out unnecessary chemicals and proteins. One of the best ways to regulate a sleep schedule is to get into bed at the same time every night and get out of bed as soon as the alarm clock goes off. Seniors who are having difficulty sleeping should schedule an overnight sleep study.
Challenge the Brain
When a skill is learned or a piece of information is memorized, the brain creates new synapses, which are vital to mental faculties, and keeping these synapses healthy in the senior years can slow age-related cognitive decline. Setting aside a few minutes every day to read, write, or do a puzzle can strengthen a senior’s synapses and trigger the production of new brain cells.
Professional caregivers can engage your senior loved one in mentally stimulating activities designed to stave off dementia and other forms of cognitive decline. For reliable dementia and Alzheimer’s care, get in touch with Coast Care Partners, a leading elder care agency. El Cajon families rely on our highly trained caregivers to help their elderly loved ones remain safe at home while managing the various challenges associated with aging. Call 619-354-2544 to learn more.