Lifestyle Treatments For Alzheimer's And Dementia

August 27, 2023

Alzheimer's disease is a type of neurodegenerative condition that affects many seniors. Its primary symptom is dementia, which can also occur as a result of other health problems, and dementia makes it hard for individuals to think logically or remember things. Unfortunately, dementia is not typically treatable, and it can worsen over time. Though there is no known way of curing and reversing the cognitive decline associated with Alzheimer's disease and dementia, there are some ways to reduce the severity of the condition or slow down the decline. Most ways of managing rely on keeping the senior as comfortable and healthy as possible. These lifestyle treatments can help seniors with dementia or Alzheimer's to continue living a full and happy life.

Exercises For The Mind

The mind may not be a muscle, but it is still possible to gain benefit from exercising it. Regularly doing tasks that require logical thinking and focus can help seniors to maintain cognitive function and memory skills when living with Alzheimer's or dementia. Just a few minutes of playing a game, participating in memory training, or doing anything else that engages the brain can have excellent benefits. Some of the most promising exercises for the mind in modern times are based on video games. Playing certain video games helps to increase grey matter, and this extra brain material can help a senior to better compensate for the deterioration associated with dementia and Alzheimer's. The best video games for seniors trying to exercise their brain are three-dimensional games that encourage them to build cognitive maps, remember their position within the game, and practice spatial awareness.

Physical Activity

The brain and the body are closely related, so physical activity has a significant effect on a person's health. Researchers have observed those with Alzheimer's disease who exercise are better able to maintain brain size and efficiency. They do not understand the precise reason for this, but it seems like exercise helps to boost circulation while preventing obesity, diabetes, high blood pressure, and other health problems that can damage the brain. Of course, it can be a little hard to exercise for seniors, but there are still ways for the elderly to stay physically active. Even a gentle walk can be enough to boost brain health. If possible, weightlifting can be a great way to reduce osteoporosis risks while also helping to maintain brain functioning. Exercises easy on the joints, such as swimming or using an elliptical machine, are also great options.

Maintaining A Healthy Weight

Being obese is often considered a risk factor for Alzheimer's disease. Obesity affects brain health because having to carry around so much extra weight all the time puts a significant amount of strain on the body. This leads to high blood pressure and other factors that can worsen brain damage.

Avoiding being underweight is another key part of maintaining a healthy weight. Underweight seniors tend to get sick easier and struggle to recover from illnesses. The body needs enough nutrition to properly manage every functioning within the body. To keep a healthy weight, it is necessary to calculate total daily energy expenditure. Once you have an idea of how many calories you burn in a day, adjust your intake to either lose, gain, or maintain your current weight. In general, those looking to lose weight should eat foods with a low-calorie density, such as fruit and vegetables, while those who need to gain weight should eat calorie-dense foods like peanut butter or cheese.

Healthy, Balanced Diet

A healthy, balanced diet is a crucial part of Alzheimer's care because the right diet will ensure the brain gets plenty of nutrition. Select foods high in omega-3 fatty acids, such as fatty fish, nuts, and seeds, to help improve overall brain health. A healthy circulatory system will help to provide the brain with oxygen and avoid causing further damage, so it is also a good idea to eat a heart-healthy diet. Try to avoid saturated fats, eat plenty of fiber, and cut back on sodium. This will help to reduce blood pressure, so high blood pressure does not cause more issues.

Social Support System

Since individuals with dementia tend to do best in familiar environments and situations, having a dedicated social support system can make a massive difference to their wellbeing. Being surrounded by longtime friends and family members will make a senior with Alzheimer's disease or dementia feel comforted and safe. This reduces their stress levels, which is very helpful because high stress tends to exacerbate symptoms. A strong social support system does more than just reduce stress and improve the senior's mood. It is also essential for taking care of the senior. Individuals with dementia or Alzheimer's disease may struggle to take care of themselves, so having loved ones who can give them the care and assistance they need is very important.

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