The key to staying active in Alzheimer’s senior living is to embrace habits that improve your overall health. This includes:
- a healthy diet
- staying mentally active
- staying social
The science also shows that these habits may affect brain health also. Remember that it’s never too late (or too early) to make a change.
Staying Mentally Active
Adequate mental challenges include:
- going to college
- mastering a new skill
- beginning a new hobby
These activities may benefit your brain in both the short and long term. The key to brain activity, however, is to engage your brain in new topics as often as possible.
Good options are games requiring a lot of strategies or reading material that goes just beyond your current reading level. Another way to strengthen your brain is to try and accomplish your current tasks in a more effective way than before. However, make sure that this new way is enjoyable also so as to increase the likelihood that you’ll continue to do them over time.
Formal education will also help no matter what stage of life you’re in. Formal education refers to education conducted by a professional teacher in a classroom. Going to classes regularly will help keep your brain healthy while helping to stave off dementia. Easy options for formal education include the local community college. There you can learn a new skill, hobby, or a new topic (such as learning a new language or instrument).
Keeping social is known to carry over the following benefits:
- reducing the risk of depression
- reduced risk of developing disabilities
- living a longer life
And of course, staying social is good for brain health and for staving off dementia. There are lots of ways that you can participate in your community and all of these will be good for connecting with others.
Also, participating in local clubs, volunteer organizations, and other community efforts will be good for your overall health. You’ll stay social and more physically active as well. The best part is that many of these possibilities are free or inexpensive. Think of walking groups and book clubs. And if nothing else, staying socially connected to your family and friends can have a tremendous benefit on your mental well being.
Remember only to pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. If you love animals, then good choices would be volunteering at the local animal shelter or with an animal rescue group.
Exercise is a critical part of maintaining your overall health and is linked to a reduced chance of experiencing cognitive decline. Cardiovascular activity is extremely important and there are many exercises online that you can consider doing. If you have mobility issues, there are likely still some cardio exercises that you can safely do. The important thing is to raise your heart rate. That will improve the blood flow going to your brain and body. That will reduce dementia risk factors including high cholesterol, diabetes, and high blood pressure.
Good choices for seniors are exercises that are mentally stimulating or social in nature. Examples include golf, participating in an exercise group, signing up for a dance class, or just going out walking with a friend. As with engaging in any activity, it’s important to choose activities that you can stick with and enjoy. Again if you’re an animal lover, walking your dog can be an excellent choice. Bike riding for athletic types, gardening if you love the outdoors, etc. If you begin following healthy lifestyle patterns today, you’ll be able to reap the lifelong rewards of engaging in physical activities. It’s never too late to change your life! Healthy choices will benefit you no matter what your age is. Just remember to talk to your doctor before starting a new exercise routine.
How to Prevent Falling
Falls are the bane of older adults’ existence, especially for those who are over 65. Each year 1/3 of adults 65 and above experience falls, and falling is the leading cause of death as well as non-fatal injuries for older adults.
Falling on your head can also induce terrible problems, including confusion, unconsciousness, and loss of normal brain functioning.
Regular exercise and physical activity can also help in preventing falls by improving your strength and balance.
You can also take measures to improve your safety at home, including removing or covering tripping hazards like cords and other household clutter.
Whenever you enter a room, be sure to turn on the lights so that you can see clearly. Strongly consider adding new lights in areas where it’s difficult for you to see.
Keep Tabs on Your Overall Health
In many ways, heart health equals brain health. Growing research is showing that the risk factors for heart disease are also risk factors for dementia. The risk factors that both afflictions have in common include high blood pressure, diabetes, smoking, high cholesterol, and obesity.
Here’s a checklist of things that will help you maintain good health:
- Get a full night’s sleep on a regular schedule. Not getting enough sleep can lead to conditions like insomnia and sleep apnea, as well as problems in thinking and memory.
- If you’re suffering from depression, anxiety, or other mental health issues, seek the advice of a professional.
- Don’t overindulge in alcohol.
- Start taking action to reduce stress. Studies show that routine physical exercise reduces stress, helps you to manage it more efficiently and also improves your mood.
- Quit smoking today. If you’re not a smoker, then don’t even consider starting.
- If you’re a diabetic, learn to manage your condition properly.
- Check your “numbers.” In a medical context, your numbers refer to your weight, cholesterol, blood sugar, and blood pressure. Be proactive in seeking treatment to maintain these numbers in healthy and safe ranges.
It’s almost a foregone conclusion that physical activity will improve one’s memory; the only thing left to determine is the exact degree to which it will improve your memory. More research will need to be done. However, we can already say that exercise is essential for maintaining good physical and mental health.