The thought of getting Dementia when we’re older is terrifying. Often people make themselves feel better with the age-old thought, “It’ll never happen to me.” The truth is that after the age of 60 about 5% of people have Dementia, and by the age of 85 the percentage jumps between 25-50%. The good news is that, despite hereditary genetic predisposition, there are many things we can do to help our odds out.
Quit Smoking, Reduce Alcohol
If smoking and drinking are something you engage in, they are two of the least healthy habits possible. They can increase the risk of blood pressure, heart disease, cancer, stroke, and so much more. Cutting back, or quitting, has almost instant improvement on quality of life. It also reduces your odds of dementia due to the health of your brain.
Exercise, Eat Healthy, Watch Weight
The best way to prevent any sort of disease is simply to lead a healthy lifestyle. Exercise! Move that glorious body, go for walks, join a class, or set a goal. Starting out is difficult, but nothing feels better than the afterglow of a good workout. Make healthier eating choices and start with your trips to the grocery store. Start small and build from there. Exchange your morning bowl of sugary cereal for a healthy fruit and veggie smoothie. Increasing exercise and decreasing calories will both be helpful in maintaining a healthy weight. All of these things will be good for your brain and decrease your odds of obtaining Dementia.
“The truth is that after the age of 60 about 5% of people have Dementia, and by the age of 85 the percentage jumps between 25-50%.”
Control Health Issues
With age often comes afflictions such as diabetes, high blood pressure, and high cholesterol. These conditions all affect brain health, which in turn increases the odds of Dementia. Make sure you have a physician you like and trust, someone you can work with. Keep on top of medications and bloodwork. Taking care of yourself now will decrease the odds of things becoming worse or causing further health implications.
Exercise your Brain
When we get older, we often stop exercising our brains and we get set in our routine. So, what are some fun and engaging things we can do to change that? Try to memorize something, and then test yourself. Listen to music, draw something from memory, or learn a new language. Read the news instead of watching it, get one of those calendars that teaches you a new word every day, or complete a word puzzle. Try getting ready in the morning with your non-dominant hand, eat an unfamiliar meal, or change the route you take to work. All these things trigger your brain that something new is happening and make it work a bit harder than normal.
Our brains need social interaction, we are a social species. We are not meant to be alone. As people age, they often find themselves isolated. Children move out, spouses pass away, and it gets more difficult to get ready and leave the house. It is important for our brains that we engage in social activities. Start a new hobby, join a book club, or go to church. Invite friends over for a game night, volunteer in the community, or aim to go out for a meal with someone new each week. Get up and get out of the house, interact with other people, and notice how good it makes you feel later.
Sleep is when our bodies and brains reset and heal. As we get older, insomnia can become more common. There are a few things you can do to help yourself get better sleep. Make sure your room is dark and cool and that there aren’t any flashing electronics. Limit naps and caffeine later in the day and stop drinking water at least an hour before bedtime. Check that the mattress doesn’t need replacing and buy yourself some cozy bedding. Aim for eight hours a night, and your body and brain will thank you.
One of the best ways to put your mind at ease regarding Dementia is to purchase long-term care insurance. Protect your loved ones and your retirement from the cost and emotional toll of a potential costly affliction. Talk to a specialist today to see if you’re eligible, to find out how much it would cost, or to answer any other questions you may have.