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5 New Year's Resolutions to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia

Now that the New Year has arrived, it’s the ideal time to think about resolutions that can pay long-term dividends for your health and well-being. 

Today, one of the most important health resolutions you can make is reducing your risk of dementia. Why? Because health experts say various forms of dementia now affect more than 5 million seniors in the U.S., and the number is growing every year. 

Says Crystal Yost, PCHA, PCH, Administrator at Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr, located in Bryn Mawr, PA, “Clearly, the need for senior adults to focus on brain health and reducing their risk of dementia has never been greater. The good news is that there is growing evidence that older Americans can protect their cognitive abilities by adopting specific healthy lifestyle activities.” 

5 Ways Seniors Can Reduce their Risk of Dementia

According to the Mayo Clinic, population-based studies suggest that several factors associated with overall good health may also reduce the risk of cognitive decline and dementia in seniors. Similarly, the Alzheimer’s Association® website section on brain health provides excellent tips that can keep your brain sharp and protect it from decline and dementia.

With that in mind, here are five basic resolutions you can make today to protect your brain health! 

  1. Exercise your brain – As the saying goes, “Use it or lose it!” Keeping your brain stimulated in your senior years can improve cognitive (thinking) skills and reduce your risk of dementia. 

Dementia research experts say that activities such as crossword puzzles, board games, reading, painting, increasing your exposure to classical music and acquiring new skills can be highly valuable for older Americans. They also recommend lifelong learning opportunities such as learning a new skill, taking on a new hobby, or learning a second language.

      2. Keep moving – Physical activity is also associated with a lower risk of cognitive decline and dementia in seniors. Therefore, if it’s safe for you, engage in exercises that will elevate your heart rate and increase the blood flow to your brain and body. Exercise can reduce potential dementia risk factors common to seniors such as high blood pressure, diabetes and high cholesterol. 

Consider physical activities such as walking with a friend, joining an exercise group, bike riding, gardening or walking the dog. Most importantly, participate in activities that you enjoy so you’ll be more likely to continue with them over time. And always consult your doctor before starting any new exercise program.

      3. Eat a “smart” diet – Senior adults should opt for a balanced diet, such as the Mediterranean diet, which is rich in vegetables, fruits, legumes, whole grains and fish, and uses olive oil as the primary cooking fat. The Mediterranean diet has been associated with improved brain function and a reduced risk of Alzheimer's disease and other forms of dementia. 

The Harvard Health article, “Foods linked to better brainpower,” lists a wide variety ofbrain-healthy foods that you can incorporate into your diet today.

      4. Socialize and stay wise – Studies on the brain health of seniors show that regular social interaction helps to maintain brain function and reduces their risk of depression and dementia. There are many ways that seniors can increase their social interactions. For example, consider joining a walking club (such as SilverSneakers®), a book club, volunteering at a local hospital or animal shelter, meeting friends regularly for lunch or joining an organization or club that matches your interests and gives and a sense of purpose. 

       5. Take care of your health – Getting enough exercise, eating a healthy diet, socializing and stimulating your brain are good starting points for seniors in maintaining their brain health and reducing the risk of dementia. However, there are other health measures that can also help. 

For example: stop smoking; limit your alcohol intake; get 7 to 9 hours of sleep every night; and monitor your blood pressure. Also, talk to your doctor if you are concerned about any symptoms that might indicate the possibility of dementia.

Crystal adds, “By following these expert tips and incorporating them into your regular routine, you can keep your brain healthy and reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. And the best news of all? It’s never too late to get started! Happy New Year!”

We encourage you to contact us with any questions you have on dementia care or to schedule a tour. Also, we invite you to read our timely blog articles on current caregiver and dementia care topics posted on our website.

We Would Love to Hear from You!

If you have comments or questions about our blog, “5 New Year's Resolutions to Reduce Your Risk of Dementia,” we’d love to hear from you. We also encourage you to share any of your caregiving experiences in our comments section.

Engaging Days. Meaningful Moments.

Loved ones with Alzheimer’s disease or other memory impairments require specialized care and support. They also deserve a lifestyle rich in dignity and fulfillment. Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr provides residents with Engaging Days and Meaningful Moments that emphasize individual abilities, encourage socialization and promote the highest level of independence possible. We offer a complete continuum of leading-edge programs, services and amenities that address the total physical, emotional and social needs of residents in a caring setting that offers individual suites with large private baths and the comfort of home. Our memory care community touches hearts and changes lives.

Helping Families Be “Family” Again.

Memory loss caused by Alzheimer’s disease, dementia or another form of memory impairment doesn’t only affect the person who has it – it affects the entire family.

If you have a loved one with early- to mid-stage memory loss, you know how challenging it can be to provide the care that’s needed while trying to maintain balance in your life. As care needs increase, you may not be able to meet them physically or emotionally. It’s often difficult to be available to care for your loved one’s health and well-being around the clock.

If and when the time comes to seek additional help, place your trust in Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr. We lift the stresses and worries of being a caregiver from your shoulders, enabling you and your family to enjoy time with your loved one again. 

For more information, please call Crystal at 484.380.5403 or contact us online. 

Disclaimer: The articles and tip sheets on this website are offered by Impressions Memory Care at Bryn Mawr and Main Line Senior Care Alliance for general informational and educational purposes and do not constitute legal or medical advice. For legal or medical advice, please contact your attorney or physician.