Can You Avoid Dementia?
As the U.S. population ages, it is only likely that the number of people with dementia will increase. You may be worried that you—or your parents—will develop dementia. If this happens, how will you take care of yourself? Do you have a plan in place to take care of your finances, health care, and day-to-day living? An estate plan can help you to outline these things and make sure that you are protected later in life.
In the meantime, what can you do to stay healthy and prevent dementia?
While there is no absolute way to avoid all types of dementia, you can take a number of steps to reduce your risk. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, these include:
- Eating well
- Maintaining social connections
- Stimulating your brain
- Protecting your head from trauma
The Alzheimer’s Association reports that the risk of developing Alzheimer’s and dementia rises with certain heart and blood vessel conditions. High blood pressure, high cholesterol, heart disease, stroke, and diabetes all increase the likelihood that you could develop dementia. Because of this, you should eat well and exercise to reduce your risk. In addition to helping your heart, exercise can help the brain by increasing blood flow and oxygen.
Staying mentally active—through stimulating intellectual activities and maintaining relationships—may also reduce your risk, according to a number of studies. What types of activities can you do? Go out with friends and family, learn a new skill (such as a language or musical instrument), play board games, work on puzzles, read, and write.
Finally, you can lower your risk by protecting your brain from trauma. For example, wear your seat belt when driving and use a helmet when playing sports.
For more information about lowering your risk of dementia, visit the Alzheimer’s Association prevention and risk page.