In a recent updated listing, the HHS offers these tips and strategies to for Reducing Your Risk for Dementia. We agree completely and have been teaching these exact elements in our curriculum for the past ten years. It is never too late to get started being better:
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What Can You Do?
Control high blood pressure. High blood pressure, or hypertension, has harmful effects on the heart, blood vessels, and brain, and increases the risk of stroke and vascular dementia. Treating high blood pressure with medication and healthy lifestyle changes, such as exercising and quitting smoking, may help reduce the risk of dementia.
Manage blood sugar. Higher than normal levels of blood sugar, or glucose, can lead to diabetes and may increase the risk of heart disease, stroke, cognitive impairment, and dementia. Making healthy food choices, getting regular exercise, stopping smoking, and checking glucose levels can help manage blood sugar.
Maintain a healthy weight. Being overweight or obese increases the risk for related health problems such as diabetes and heart disease. Being active and choosing healthy foods can help maintain a healthy weight.
Eat a healthy diet. Aim for a mix of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, lean meats and seafood, unsaturated fats such as olive oil, low-fat or nonfat dairy products, and limit other fats and sugars.
Keep physically active. Physical activity has many health benefits, such as helping to prevent being overweight and having obesity, heart disease, stroke, and high blood pressure. Aim to get at least 150 minutes of moderate-intensity physical activity each week.
Stay mentally active. Lots of activities can help keep your mind active, including reading, playing board games, crafting or taking up a new hobby, learning a new skill, working or volunteering, and socializing.
Stay connected with family and friends. Connecting with people and engaging in social activities can prevent social isolation and loneliness, which are linked to higher risks for cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease.
Treat hearing problems. Hearing loss may affect cognition and dementia risk in older adults and can make it more difficult to interact with others. Protect your ears from loud sounds to help prevent hearing loss and use hearing aids if needed.
Take care of your mental and physical health. (e.g., Stress management)This includes getting your recommended health screenings, managing chronic health issues such as depression or high cholesterol, and regularly checking in with your health care provider.
Sleep well. Sleeping well is important for both your mind and body. Try to get seven to eight hours of sleep each night. Talk with your doctor if you are not getting enough sleep, sleeping poorly, or think you may have a sleep disorder.
Prevent head injury. Take steps to prevent falls and head injury, such as fall-proofing your home and wearing shoes with nonskid soles that fully support your feet. Consider participating in fall prevention programs online or in your area. Also, wear seatbelts and helmets to help protect you from concussions and other brain injuries.
Drink less alcohol. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to falls and worsen health conditions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, stroke, memory loss, and mood disorders. The National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism (NIAAA), part of the National Institutes of Health, recommends that men should not have more than two drinks a day and women only one. Learn more at NIAAA’s Rethinking Drinking website.
Stop tobacco use. At any age, stopping smoking can improve your health and lower the risk of heart attack, stroke, and lung disease.