Dementia is a complex condition with numerous causes and risk factors. While it’s impossible for seniors to do anything about their age or family histories, they can significantly reduce their risk of dementia by focusing on controllable factors. The following are some essential components of a brain-healthy lifestyle. The more your aging loved one focuses on each area, the better the chances of maintaining his or her cognitive function.
Physical activity maintains and creates the neural connections necessary for healthy brain function, and it also increases blood flow to the brain. Seniors can reduce their risk of dementia by half with regular physical exercise. Even a 10-minute walk a couple of times a day is a step in the right direction. Consult a doctor before starting any exercise regimen. If your loved one requires transportation to participate in fitness classes or needs help exercising at home, consider hiring a caregiver.
Seniors with mobility limitations or health conditions may find it difficult to manage their health on their own. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior care Colorado Springs, CO, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
The human brain doesn’t thrive in isolation, so you should encourage your loved one to develop and maintain a network of friends. Here are a few ways seniors can connect with others:
- Taking group classes
- Visiting local senior or community centers
- Joining a church or civic club
Follow a Healthy Diet
Metabolic disorders can lead to inflammation and insulin resistance that interferes with the communication between brain cells. Maintaining healthy eating habits protects the brain and reduces the risk of diabetes and other metabolic disorders. Encourage your loved one to take the following steps:
- Reduce sugar intake
- Eat plenty of fruits and vegetables
- Avoid trans fats
- Limit processed foods
Engage in Mental Stimulation
Encourage your loved one to engage in brain-stimulating exercises that require communication, organization, interaction, or multitasking. Some examples include:
- Learning a new skill
- Performing a familiar task in a different way
- Doing memorization drills
- Playing games or working puzzles
Professional caregivers with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of at-home care. You can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide an individualized care plan to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits, such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
Get High-Quality Sleep
Adults should get seven to eight hours of uninterrupted sleep each night. Chronic sleep deprivation naturally slows thought processes and can negatively affect mood. Individuals who don’t get high-quality sleep also tend to have higher levels of a protein called beta-amyloid in their brains, which may contribute to plaque formation that can cause cognitive decline. The following tips can enhance your loved one’s quality of sleep:
- Follow a regular sleep routine and schedule
- Keep TV and other electronics out of the bedroom
- Limit napping
Chronic stress can interfere with nerve cell growth and shrink areas of the brain associated with memory formation. Stress management techniques can protect the brain and reduce your loved one’s risk of developing dementia. Encourage your loved one to try the following techniques:
- Engage in a relaxing activity
- Laugh often
- Practice meditation and focused breathing exercises
If your loved one is diagnosed with dementia, compassionate help is just a phone call away. Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Colorado Springs seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. Reach out to one of our Care Managers today at (719) 822-1229 to schedule a free in-home consultation.