As an in home care agency serving Palo Alto, Lamorinda and seniors throughout the Bay Area, we know that dementia and cognitive decline can be stressful and even frightening for the elderly and their loved ones. It’s natural to become a little forgetful as we age, but is there a way to prevent or delay the onset of something much more serious? While much of it depends on whether a person has already developed symptoms or is taking preventive measures early on, scientists believe there are certain strategies that may make it possible to delay or even avoid cognitive decline issues.
There are many things you can do that may prove effective in slowing down brain disease or avoiding dementia in the aging. These include staying socially active, managing depression, eating a healthy diet along with sufficient folic acid and vitamin B12, controlling high cholesterol and diabetes, and getting plenty of sleep. That said, there is no guarantee that someone won’t develop dementia or have cognitive decline issues regardless of the precautions taken. Still, the research shows promise – and hope is always a good thing when it comes to the mind.
What have scientists found? A 2017 report released by The National Academies of Sciences, Engineering and Medicine has revealed that controlling hypertension (high blood pressure), being more physically active, and participating in cognitive training are strategies that may hold promise when it comes to prevention of dementia.
Of the three, the only strategy believed to have an impact on delaying or preventing Alzheimer’s was managing high blood pressure. While physical activity and cognitive training seem effective in delaying age-related cognitive decline, research didn’t show either could prevent dementia or the mild cognitive impairment that often precedes it.
Health professionals, and scientists who study dementia and perform research, strongly believe that individuals should begin taking precautions to prevent or delay dementia, cognitive decline, and Alzheimer’s early on – in middle age, or around 45 or 50 years old. Controlling high blood pressure is critical, however, the experts also believe physical activity is key in preserving brain health and recommend walking briskly for 20 minutes each day.
What about cognitive training? This seems to have a positive impact in terms of an ability to function independently and engage in daily tasks, however, it isn’t clear whether it was the actual training or several factors combined that made a difference in those studied in an ACTIVE trial over a 10-year period.
It seems that, overall, it’s important to control hypertension, high cholesterol, and diabetes, while eating healthy foods, exercising, getting plenty of sleep, and staying socially connected with others. We encourage seniors to do as much as they can to stay healthy, both physically and mentally!
Need help caring for an aging loved one in the San Francisco Bay Area? Whether for assistance with daily tasks, overnight care, or 24/7, our in home caregivers are compassionate, caring, and dedicated to making life easier and more enjoyable for not only seniors, but their families.