Sometimes, aging comes with memory loss. You may remember an older relative who lived with Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia, so it’s understandable why you’d be seeking ways to reduce the risk of developing dementia for yourself.
Whether you have a family history of dementia or not, it’s important to get ahead of potentially developing this disease. The good news is there are plenty of ways to be proactive.
At Sedgebrook, a Life Plan Community in Lincolnshire, IL, we aid older adults in leading a healthy lifestyle and understanding what factors increase the risk of cognitive health conditions like dementia. The more residents – and you – know, the better prepared you’ll be for lowering the risk of dementia.
What is dementia?
Before we dive into the risk factors of dementia, you should have a better idea of what it actually is. According to the Alzheimer’s Association®, “Dementia is a general term for loss of memory, language, problem-solving and other thinking abilities that are severe enough to interfere with daily life.”
Dementia can lead to drastic changes in behavior, emotions, memory, perception, and overall thinking. It’s important to note that general forgetfulness is natural as we age. It’s when it is accompanied by the aforementioned changes that it is diagnosed as dementia.
Our Assisted Living Memory Care professionals often get asked what the difference is between Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. The simplest answer we provide is that Alzheimer’s is the most common type of the many forms of dementia.
Top risk factors of dementia
The first step to lowering your risk of dementia is understanding which lifestyle and genetic factors put you at a higher risk to begin with. According to the Alzheimer’s Association®, the top causes and risk factors of Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia are:
The risk of developing dementia increases the older we get. Most individuals living with this disease are 65 and older, with a doubled likelihood of developing it every five years after 65. After the age of 85, the risk reaches nearly one-third of the senior population.
Have either or both of your parents had Alzheimer’s disease or other forms of dementia? What about a sibling? Unfortunately, when the disease hits so close to home, the chances of developing it increases greatly.
Did you know there are two genes that determine whether or not someone will develop certain diseases? In this case, if someone has both risk genes and deterministic genes, it can lead to developing Alzheimer’s disease. However, less than 1% of Alzheimer’s is developed from deterministic genes. Ask your physician about genetic testing to learn more.
Other risk factors include head injury or traumatic brain injury, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and a history of diabetes, stroke, and heart disease.
6 ways to lower dementia risk
Now that you have a better grasp on what leads to dementia, try implementing any of the following six tips to reduce your risk.
1. Prioritize regular exercise.
Not only is exercise good for your physical health, but it also benefits your cognitive health. Regular exercise can be as simple as taking daily walks, stretching, or swimming. At Sedgebrook, we implement holistic wellness programs perfect for preventing dementia.
2. Eat a healthy diet.
A balanced diet can lower your risk of dementia, along with cardiovascular disease, diabetes, stroke, and cancer. A balance of nutrients helps your body and brain remain healthy and lowers blood sugar. At Sedgebrook, our dining team works with each resident to meet dietary restrictions and preferences so that eating well is always possible and accessible.
3. Stay socially active.
Having conversations with friends and family and getting out of the house to participate in activities keeps the mind sharp. Staying socially active prevents isolation and loneliness, which are also contributing factors to developing dementia. At a community like Sedgebrook, it’s easy for residents to remain socially active with an event calendar that’s always full of something fun and a surrounding area that’s filled with many attractions.
4. Stimulate your mind.
Reading, doing a puzzle, participating in trivia night, painting, playing cards or board games – you name it, Sedgebrook has it. Exercising the mind for problem-solving or learning something new keeps the brain stimulated and healthy. Check out our services and amenities, with plenty of wellness opportunities to take part in.
5. Be proactive about your mental health.
Stress and anxiety aren’t fun emotions to feel. In fact, chronic depression can be a major contributing factor to developing dementia. Discover different ways to prioritize your mental health, whether through meditation, gratitude practices, breathing exercises, or other outlets.
6. Eliminate tobacco and alcohol.
Quitting smoking and drinking is helpful if you’re trying to live your healthiest life. Both of these vices expose your body to chemicals that harm organ function and circulation around the body, as well as constrict blood vessels around the brain.
Searching for the best memory care in Lincolnshire?
If you or a loved one is ever in need of assisted living memory care, Sedgebrook provides exceptional care and a safe, comfortable lifestyle that promotes dignity and respect. Schedule a visit today to learn more about our personalized memory care and health services neighborhood, Radford Green.