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Living at Home: Preventing memory loss

By Jaime Jensen

Every 67 seconds someone in the United States develops Alzheimer’s disease. This staggering statistic is only one of many alarming pieces of data compiled by the Alzheimer’s Association that show memory loss and specific dementias are on the rise in the American population.

June is National Alzheimer’s and Brain Awareness Month and a perfect time to discuss what you can do to help prevent or delay the onset and progression of Alzheimer’s disease and other dementias. You are never too young or too old to work toward keeping your brain active and healthy.

From your heart to your head

Research has shown that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease may increase when a person has medical conditions that cause damage to the heart or blood vessels. Maintaining healthy blood pressure and cholesterol levels, working to prevent or effectively manage diabetes and heart disease can help to lessen your potential of dementia. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, many medical experts feel controlling cardiovascular risk factors is not only the most helpful method of protecting the brain, but also the most cost-effective.

Eat your veggies and keep moving

As often as we hear about eating healthy foods and getting plenty of exercise, you would think we would have the pattern down pat. Sadly, many of us don’t. There is no time like the present to make a change. Regular physical exercise is believed to protect brain health by increasing blood flow and oxygen to the brain and by strengthening your cardiovascular system. A diet emphasizing whole grains, fruits and vegetables, fish and healthy fats has shown evidence of protecting brains as they age. Eat well and do what you can to keep your body in motion.

Train that brain

A vast number of studies indicate maintaining social connections with family, friends and the community and keeping yourself mentally engaged in things you enjoy has the potential to lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s disease. As people age and lose relationships they once treasured, it is easy to become isolated and depressed. It is vitally important to your mental health to remain engaged with others and to participate in intellectually stimulating activities.

In 2014, an estimated 5.2 million Americans have Alzheimer’s disease. This number is growing by leaps and bounds. Be your best advocate. Take care of yourself and your brain. Learn what to do now to keep yourself sharp in your golden years, platinum years and final years.

If you or a loved one suspect memory loss, have been diagnosed with dementia, or you would like more information on Alzheimer’s disease, please call Living at Home at732-3137 or visit our office at 109 South Grove in Park Rapids.

We offer support to those facing memory concerns and their family caregivers, along with a variety of educational opportunities and memory care resources.