Alzheimer’s Awareness – Mines and Associates
It is more important than ever to understand the warning signs for dementia and the lifestyle changes we can make to reduce our risk.
The key warning signs or symptoms are:
- Memory loss
- Challenges with Problem Solving
- Difficulty Completing Familiar Tasks
- Confusion with Time or Place
- Visual or Spatial Difficulties
- Problems with Words
- Increased Problems with Misplacing Things
- Decreased or Poor Judgment
- Withdrawal from Activities
- Changes in Mood or Personality
If you see any of these signs regularly in yourself or others, see a doctor immediately. While it might not be Alzheimer’s or dementia, it could be something that requires immediate attention. If it is dementia, there are many benefits to early detection and diagnosis.
And perhaps the most exciting news is that our lifestyle choices can have an impact on risk reduction or delaying the onset of Alzheimer’s disease. Adopting the following twelve lifestyle habits “will probably” influence our risk for dementia versus the “might” promises of the past.
Regular Cardio Exercise – Be sure to check with your physician before beginning an exercise regimen to make sure it is safe based on your overall health.
Diet – Eating fruits, vegetables, and lean proteins vs. fatty meats, fried, sugary or salty foods. If you choose to consume alcohol, exercise moderation. Blueberries, blueberries, blueberries! A great food to fight inflammation and a great source for antioxidants.
Heart and Brain Awareness – If it’s good for your heart, it’s good for your brain. There is a correlation between cognitive decline and cardiovascular disease, hypertension, and high blood pressure, and obesity and diabetes.
Talk to Your Doctor – Ask your doctor to ask you about your cognitive health each year during your annual wellness visit or physical. 82% of older adults believe their cognition should be tested annually, yet only 16% are getting these tests.
Mind Your Mental Health – Discuss depression with your doctor and manage your stress. Consider meditation, yoga, or even grown-up coloring books as a way to bring peace and calm into your busy life.
Stop Smoking – There is a direct correlation between Alzheimer’s disease and smoking…enough said.
Continual Learning – Continue to learn new things. Take a class at a community college or online. Learn a musical instrument or a language.
Stimulate Your Brain – While not every brain game may have science behind it, many do. Challenge yourself with puzzles and games and pay special attention to games that exercise your peripheral vision, which is at risk for decline through cognitive impairment.
Socialize – In this day of social media, make sure you interact personally with others. Social integration is important for brain health. Volunteer, take dance lessons or join clubs.
The Importance of Sleep – Sound, natural sleep gives your brain a chance to rid itself of toxins. Remove devices from the bedroom and create a cool and dark environment to promote sleep. Some sleep aids may increase your risk for dementia, so check with your doctor before using medications.
Treat Hearing Loss – There is an increase in the incidence of Alzheimer’s and dementia in those with untreated hearing loss in middle age. Your brain cannot process what you never heard, to begin with. See a doctor about hearing loss. There should be no stigma about hearing devices.
Protect Your Brain – As active adults, we are sliding up, down and around something summer and winter. Seatbelts, seatbelts, seatbelts! Helmets, helmets, helmets!
And as we wait for the breakthrough, it is also more important than ever to know how to get help. I have been with Mines and Associates for five years now and present a learning session called Alzheimer’s/Dementia A to Z to our client groups. I am noticing attendees of all ages in these sessions as interest is growing in how we can maintain healthy brains beginning in our 20s and 30s. I am also seeing an increase in those employees who seek coaching on the topic of Alzheimer’s/Dementia through the Employee Assistance Plan benefits that their employers provide. Mines clients can schedule free one hour sessions with me for dementia coaching as they put together plans to care for aging parents, relatives or friends.
Utilizing the dementia resources available through Mines and Associates can help you get organized and become knowledgeable. Also, the Alzheimer’s Association provides a 24/7 helpline at 800.272.3900. And finally, for all of you who are caring for someone with Alzheimer’s disease or another form of dementia, be sure to take care of yourself first! This will help you provide better care for your Lovies.