Even though researchers still have quite a bit to learn about Alzheimer’s, they have spent the last few decades identifying some of the most common risk factors. Genetics play a major role in this disease, but certain habits and environmental situations can impact a senior’s cognitive health as well. Here are a few steps seniors can take to reduce their risk of Alzheimer’s and other dementia-related disorders.
Learn to Manage Stress
Researchers now know that untreated stress can physically damage the brain and increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. Chronic stress can also increase a senior’s risk of other serious health complications, ranging from heart disease to high blood pressure. Many relaxation techniques can be used to lower stress levels, including getting regular exercise, spending time out in nature, keeping a journal, and socializing with friends.
If your senior loved one needs encouragement to make healthier lifestyle choices, consider hiring a professional caregiver. Seniors who want to remain healthy as they age can benefit in a variety of ways when they receive professional home care. West Hartford, CT, Home Care Assistance is here to help your loved one accomplish daily tasks, prevent illness, and focus on living a healthier and more fulfilling life.
Don’t Neglect Depression
Late-life depression is now being studied extensively, and some researchers believe this mental health disorder is one of the biggest risk factors for Alzheimer’s disease. Depression can be caused by hormonal imbalances, social isolation, grief, and even certain medications. Caregivers who notice any signs of depression in an aging loved one should immediately contact a mental health professional to explore the treatment options.
Follow a Healthy Diet
Experts at the Alzheimer’s Association claim the DASH and Mediterranean diets are two of the best options for seniors who are at risk of developing Alzheimer’s. Both of these diets emphasize fresh produce, nuts, fish, poultry, whole grains, and lean red meat. Seniors who adopt one of these diets also need to limit their intake of salt, sugar, and most processed ingredients.
Catch Up with Old Friends
Staying social is one of the best ways to slow cognitive decline and boost brain health. Researchers believe interacting with friends and loved ones activates areas of the brain that are susceptible to plaques that sometimes cause Alzheimer’s. Building a strong social network can also help seniors catch the early warning signs of Alzheimer’s as quickly as possible. An early and accurate diagnosis allows doctors to slow the rate of cognitive decline with preventative treatments.
Caring for a senior loved one with Alzheimer’s disease can be challenging. Families who find it difficult to care for their aging loved ones without assistance can benefit greatly from professional respite care. West Hartford, CT, family caregivers who need a break from their caregiving duties can turn to Home Care Assistance. Using our proprietary Balanced Care Method, our respite caregivers can encourage your loved one to eat well, exercise regularly, get plenty of mental and social stimulation, and focus on other lifestyle factors that promote longevity.
Learn New Things
Doctors used to believe all humans eventually stopped producing new brain cells, but recent studies have shown that the brain continues to grow as long as a person stays mentally active. Playing board games, learning a new language, and engaging in other mentally stimulating activities creates new brain cells and repairs damaged neural pathways. Seniors can also do crossword puzzles, watch online lectures, and play memory-based games to boost their brain health.
Cut Out Alcohol and Tobacco Products
Alcohol and tobacco products are serious risk factors for Alzheimer’s, and most seniors benefit from quitting them entirely. These products put the internal organs under a tremendous amount of stress, and they are both associated with premature brain damage. Even though the occasional glass of red wine can be beneficial, seniors should drink no more than a few servings every week.
Participating in brain-boosting activities can be a great help for seniors who want to reduce their Alzheimer’s risk. Having a professional caregiver to assist with daily tasks makes it easier to engage in stimulating activities. In West Hartford, CT, home care agencies can be a great boon to seniors. With the help of the caregivers at Home Care Assistance, your aging loved one can lead a happier and healthier life. We offer a revolutionary program called the Balanced Care Method, which encourages seniors to eat nutritious foods, exercise and socialize regularly, and focus on other lifestyle factors that increase life expectancy. If your loved one wants to age in the comfort of home, call us at (860) 372.4500 today.