How to Prevent Alzheimer’s Disease

 

by W. Adahan

Prevention is key for any disease. Alzheimer’s is becoming more prevalent as people live to older and older ages.

Among the elderly who don’t suffer Alzheimer’s disease, a few common traits and behaviors have been observed. Usually they are physically active, engage in mind-stimulating activities, and socially connected.

It follows then, that one who would avoid dementia, should keep in touch with relatives, remain in contact with friends, and be involved in the community. Social connection is also good for emotional health, which effects a person’s physical well being in more ways than can be counted.

Regular exercise, even walking or swimming, is also important. Exercise has actually been linked to the regrowth and growth of brain neurons in the hippocampus, the region of the brain used in memory, attention, and decision-making. Seniors who engaged in aerobic exercise three times a week have displayed a 15-20% increase in these cognitive functions. This may be due to the increased blood flow to the brain.

Keep the brain working! Reading, learning a language, playing music, traveling, or crossword puzzles are great ways to keep the brain intellectually challenged. You’ve heard it before, and it bears repeating: the brain is a muscle… use it or lose it.

Food intake has also been linked to cognitive help, no surprise there. A Mediterranean style diet, rich in fish, nuts, fruit, vegetables, olive oil, red wine, and blueberries, has been linked to increased brain health. There’s no need to overhaul your diet – a handful of blueberries a day, a glass of red wine, two servings of fish a week, and a handful of nuts every day can make a difference.

Eat healthy, live well.

Once Alzheimer’s sets in, it can be slowed and delayed both with drugs, and with the same preventative techniques. Assisted living facilities should provide a warm, family atmosphere, where all residents feel connected, creating that social bond that is so important to mental health. Their comprehensive rehabilitation program should give residents a healthy workout to keep the blood pumping and the neurons growing. Daily activities are calculated to stimulate the intellect, encourage thought, and improve cognition. With this healthy balanced existence, residents can age well and with dignity.

20. May 2008 by Ruth Folger Weiss
Categories: Aging, Alzheimers/Dementia, Family, Long Term Care, Rehab | Leave a comment

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