5 Tips on Improving Brain Health for Alzheimer’s Awareness Month
Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive brain disorder that affects millions of people worldwide.
When it comes to caring for a loved one with Alzheimer’s, you already know that it’s a full-time job. That is why we have created this resource guide for caregivers so that they can get the most out of their relationships with loved ones who are dealing with different types of dementia.
In September, as we observe Alzheimer’s Awareness Month, it is crucial to understand the importance of brain health and how we can take steps to protect and improve it. Here are five tips to enhance brain health and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
1. Stay Mentally Active
Engaging in challenging mental activities can help build cognitive reserve, which is the brain’s ability to withstand damage. This can help delay the onset of dementia by several years.
Activities such as puzzles, reading, learning a new language, playing an instrument, or even playing strategy games can help keep the brain stimulated and enhance it’s functioning by requiring strategic thinking, focus, and problem-solving skills.
For those who are too busy to engage in these mental challenges, meditation may be a helpful substitute.
Meditation, which is also considered a type of mental activity, has been shown to reduce stress levels—a factor associated with Alzheimer’s disease risk.
These are a few of the many ways that you can work to improve your brain health or the brain health of a loved one.
2. Adopt a Healthy Diet
Never underestimate the power of nutrition and its importance for brain health. Eating well not only shows up in the form of better physical health, but also mental health.
Skip the frozen food, and focus on consuming foods that are rich in antioxidants, such as fresh fruits, vegetables, nuts, and whole grains. Incorporate fatty fish, like salmon, which contains omega-3 fatty acids known for their brain-boosting properties.
There are so many healthy and delicious meal options that can help improve your brain health, and it doesn’t have to be difficult or expensive. Amazing meals can be found in just a few short clicks!
And remember: avoid processed foods and limit your intake of sweets as much as possible, as these things can cause inflammation and other health problems.
3. Exercise Regularly
Oftentimes, nutrition and exercise go hand in hand, that’s why they’re both important for maintaining brain health.
Studies have shown that people who exercise regularly have lower rates of memory decline as they age than those who do not exercise regularly.
Regular aerobic exercise, such as jogging, swimming, or cycling, increases blood flow to the brain, improves memory, and stimulates the growth of new neurons. Even a simple walk around the neighborhood can make a world of difference for the mind.
If you’re looking for a way to make it fun, try listening to a podcast or adding music to your exercise routine. In fact, dancing or exercising to music is not only a fun way to stay fit, but it also has cognitive benefits. Research shows that the combination of physical movement and music can stimulate the brain, improve memory, and boost mood.
Aim for a minimum of 20 minutes of exercise each day, and remember to make it fun!
4. Prioritize Quality Sleep
Sleep plays a crucial role in consolidating memories and allowing the brain to recharge.
A full night’s rest can help you make sense of the day’s events and store them in long-term memory. It may also boost your mood, improve concentration, and reduce stress. It’s best to get between seven and nine hours of sleep each night in order for the body and mind to function at its optimum level.
When it’s time for bed, create a regular sleep routine that limits screen time and creates a comfortable, dark, quiet environment. This will help you fall asleep regularly each night—and sleep soundly throughout the night.
If you struggle with falling asleep or staying asleep during the night, try taking a warm bath, drinking chamomile tea, or reading a book before bed. If you still can’t sleep, speak with your doctor to determine if a sleep disorder is the cause.
5. Stay Socially Engaged
Interactions with others are essential to good brain health.
People who maintain strong social relationships have been shown to be less likely to suffer from depression, and more likely to function well cognitively. They also tend to feel better about themselves and have higher self-esteems.
If you are looking for opportunities to interact with others, you may try joining clubs, volunteering, or taking part in community activities. You may even try reaching out to your loved ones by sending them text messages, video chatting with them online, or following their social media accounts.
Social connections are beneficial to your brain health, so it is important to make the effort to stay connected.
These tips are part of our Balanced Care Method™, and can support and improve brain health. By incorporating them into your lifestyle or into the life of a loved one, you can reduce the risk of cognitive decline.
Take the opportunity during Alzheimer’s Awareness Month to raise awareness and educate others about the importance of keeping the brain active and healthy.
If you are concerned about your memory, or if you need help caring for a loved one living with Alzheimer’s disease, feel free to contact us today for more information about our memory care services.
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