As people get older, they often fear that they will develop dementia, a condition that affects the brain. It robs people of their memories and thinking skills, leaving them reliant on others for their care. It’s a big problem and experts say the number of people with dementia is growing. In fact, the World Health Organization (WHO) estimates that by 2030 there will be 82 million people in the world with dementia. The good news is that experts say that making lifestyle changes can reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia.
Risk Factors for Dementia
The biggest risk factor for dementia is age. There’s certainly nothing that can be done about getting older. However, according to an article on WebMD, scientists have recently identified some new risk factors that can be modified:
Sleep: Some research suggests that there is a link between sleep and dementia. During sleep, the body removes beta-amyloid from the brain. This is the protein that makes the plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. So, not getting enough sleep may lead to a buildup of the protein.
Hearing: Recent studies suggest that hearing loss increases the chance of developing dementia. Researchers believe this may be because struggling to hear makes the brain work harder, which could cause damage over time. Some scientists believe the increased risk might also have something to do with social interaction since sometimes people with hearing loss avoid social situations.
Head Injuries: Traumatic brain injuries double the risk of dementia.
Lifestyle Changes That Reduce the Risk
In addition to addressing the risk factors above, addressing three general areas of health may also prevent dementia. Those areas are:
Heart Health: Conditions that make a person more likely to develop heart disease also increase the chances of getting dementia, such as high blood pressure, diabetes, and high cholesterol. Autopsies conducted on Alzheimer’s patients reveal that about 80 percent of them also had cardiovascular disease. Therefore, taking steps like for improving a senior’s heart health, like following a heart-healthy diet, could also help them avoid dementia.
Exercise: Not only will exercise improve heart health, it may also keep the brain healthier. One way it may help is by increasing blood flow to the brain.
Mental Stimulation: Keeping the brain active and remaining socially active have both been linked to reducing the risk of dementia.
Making lifestyle changes isn’t always easy, but senior care can help. Senior care providers can help your aging relative to eat a healthy balanced diet. Senior care providers can also engage older adults in activities that keep their brains active, such as board games and crafts. Finally, senior care providers can make social interactions easier by assisting the person to get out of the house so they can see friends and family.
If you or an aging loved-one are considering Home Care in Lake Bluff, IL, call the caring staff at LifeCare In-Home Care & In-Home Services. Call (888) 606-4199 LifeCare serves all of the Chicago Metro Area.
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