If you’re faced with the possibility of Alzheimer’s or other
dementia-related conditions, the future may look scary. Fortunately, science has
suggestions on things you can do today to help you avoid, delay, or slow down
Alzheimer’s tomorrow. While more research remains to be done on activities that
supposedly delay Alzheimer’s, there is research to support the notion that
brain structure changes associated with Alzheimer’s may begin as early as 20
years before symptoms are visible. For a healthier brain, here are things you
can do today to mind your mind:
- Go outside for a walk.
Physical activity is one of the best things you can do for your overall health, benefiting both body and mind. There is a strong link between cardiovascular and brain health, so both your head and your heart will thank you for being active.
As a senior, you may be hesitant to engage in physical activity that is too “intense.” Indeed, your safety should be your first priority, and it is recommended that you check with your physician first before committing to a new physical activity. Low-impact, gentle exercises like walking, tai chi, water aerobics, swimming, and biking may be suitable to the cautious.
As we get older, making friends may get more challenging, but finding social connection is an investment well worth your time. Thanks to the internet, you may be able to find old friends from high school, college, and old jobs with just a few Facebook searches. Otherwise, there are plenty of seniors just like you who are looking for a connection! Go to community get-togethers for like-minded individuals, such as fitness classes, book clubs, and walking groups.
Science suggests that being socially engaged is good for your brain. It’s another thing you have power over that may ward off Alzheimer’s.
If you engage in sports like biking or skiing, make sure you protect
your head! There is evidence connecting moderate to severe dementia to
traumatic brain injuries. As we get older, we lose flexibility and physical
resilience. A rough tumble can result in something more than a bruise. Buying a
helmet and being extra cautious is a very simple way to prevent this significant
Research suggests that active brains are more resilient to dementia-like conditions. After discovering that individuals with more years in formal education are at lower risk for Alzheimer’s, scientists hypothesized that education builds “cognitive reserve,” which means your brain is flexible and efficient in its use of neuron networks. However, this doesn’t mean you have to get a PhD! Having a mentally-stimulating job or pursuing an intellectually stimulating hobby has the same effect. Activities you can pursue include crossword puzzles, Sudoku, board games, and solitaire.
- Dust off that old piano and learn a new tune.
Want to challenge your brain to the next level? Retirement is a great
time to pick up a musical instrument. Learning to read music is also another
fun and interesting brain exercise. If you don’t have much experience in music,
easy and affordable instruments to start off with include the ukulele,
recorder, and percussion instruments. Or, dust off that old piano that’s
sitting in your living room. If you don’t want to purchase a new instrument,
use your built-in one: your vocal cords!
- Do something that lifts your mood.
Poor cardiovascular health is connected to higher risk for Alzheimer’s, and stress is linked to cardiovascular conditions like hypertension. That means it’s important to control your stress.It’s perfectly understandable to feel totally pessimistic if Alzheimer’s is on the horizon, and one cannot simply snap fingers and “just be happy.” This doesn’t mean you should give up doing the things you enjoy, however. Whether it’s gardening, cooking, or playing with grandchildren, something that makes you happy is likely something that engages your mind, and we’ve already covered how good that is for you.
Learn More About Alzheimer’s
Education is power. You can find the research used in this article by clicking here for an informational booklet by the Alzheimer’s Association and click here for information provided by the National Institute on Aging.
If you or a loved one is struggling to afford medication to treat their dementia-related condition, you can access affordable medication like Aricept (donepezil) and Exelon (rivastigmine) from Rx Connected and Canadian Med Center. These are Canadian pharmacy referral services that can connect you with prescription drugs from countries with significantly lower drug prices. Medications sold are vetted to meet stringent guidelines set by relevant governing bodies, so patients like you can feel safe.
Retirement means freedom for many folks. Your time is now completely
yours. Don’t let the fear of Alzheimer’s take that away. Make these “golden
years” as pleasurable as possible for yourself. You deserve it!
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