Maintaining a healthy diet and weight doesn’t only reduce the chance of risks of this illness, but it also minimizes risks of other conditions too like cancer, diabetes, stroke, and heart-related diseases as well as obesity.
The brain needs a consistent supply of nutrients present in our food to enable it to function to its full capacity and remain healthy.
Therefore, what we eat affects how the brain works. Eating sugar-laded foods and those with high levels of saturated fats can raise our cholesterol levels.
The MOST EVIDENT effect is often weight gain increasing heart disease risk and other health conditions associated with dementia.
3. Don’t Smoke
Not smoking or kicking the habit can also reduce the risk of dementia. Cigarette smoking can be detrimental to heart health.
The chemicals in tobacco tend to trigger inflammation and the brain’s vascular changes putting one at a higher risk of getting dementia.
It harms blood circulation in the body, including the brain, heart, and lung blood vessels and these free radicals can lead to cell damage, possibly contributing to the development of this disease.
This would lead to increased cognitive impairment and cardiovascular risk factors associated with dementia.
Even though NOT EVERY smoker will get dementia, quitting the habit is thought to minimize the risk.
4. Cutting Down on Alcohol Consumption
Long-term and excessive alcohol consumption leads to impaired cognitive function as well as neurological damage depleting the body’s thiamine, causing a type of dementia known as Alcohol-related dementia (ARD).
This form of dementia deteriorates the intellectual function even though memory may not be precisely affected but may arise with other dementia forms resulting in several symptoms.
These SYMPTOMS INCLUDE muscle jerks, extreme confusion, unsteadiness, nausea, vomiting and lack of ability to move one’s eyes.
People with this form of dementia that affects the brain’s frontal lobes often display a loss of planning and a lack of inhibition.
Additionally, their brain’s vascular system changes and increased hemorrhage risk.
5. Taking Part In Mentally Stimulating Activities
Some studies have linked mentally stimulating activities by reducing the risk of dementia. Others too, have linked spending MORE TIME studying to lowering the risks.
Engaging in mentally stimulating activities that one enjoys in a social setup increases the chances of successful cognitive training.
Although it’s not crystal clear which activities are more beneficial, it’s advisable that one engages in WHAT THEY LOVE. That could be reading, playing an instrument or even tackling crosswords.
This way, one’s brain is kept active, improving and maintaining their mental wellbeing as it also helps boosts one’s spirits while socializing with others.
Good thing is, one can strengthen their brain at any age, whether through leisure activities or workplace achievement.
6. Treating Depression
The correlation between depression and dementia risk is significant. This is because depression is a high-risk factor for dementia since it significantly increases the chances of the illness.
Even though depression is NOT a CAUSE of this condition, it also has a certain percentage risk responsible for it.
Despite the causal relationship between the risk of dementia and depression has not been established, it is good to treat early-life depression to minimize the chances of developing dementia
7. Hearing Loss
The association between hearing impairment and dementia onset is impartially new. Hearing loss may cause more stress to an already weak brain regarding the possible changes that eventually occur.
It may also cause the persons with dementia to retreat into isolation, leaving them depressed, dependent and lonely as they withdraw from crowds or their usual social activities.
It is still unknown how hearing loss relates to cognitive FAILURE and dementia, but it is said to contribute to different specific cognitive abilities such as processing speed, visuospatial ability, executive function, and memory.
Although old age could contribute to this relationship, a hearing loss too could play a role in developing dementia.
8. Controlling Blood Pressure Levels
Uncontrolled high levels of blood pressure are bound to create complications by damaging and narrowing the brain’s blood vessels. Eventually, this increases the chances of the blood vessels becoming blocked or even bursting.
When this occurs, cells in the brain may be impaired due to a lack of an insufficient supply of oxygen and nutrients in the blood.
This damage, therefore, can cause vascular dementia affecting one’s memory and thinking skills.
Moreover, diabetes also associates with cognitive dysfunction progression. This possibly will INTENSIFY the risk of getting dementia.
Hence, controlling someone’s blood pressure and observing their lifestyle may save them from this condition.
9. Maintaining Social Contact
Frequent social contact is yet another way of reducing risk of dementia. This includes visiting friends, going out of comfort zones and also engaging in group activities.
Unlike loneliness, which may increase the risk of the illness, socializing does the complete opposite.
Social isolation is a breeding ground for depression. It also contributes to a higher risk of developing other conditions like heart disease and hypertension.
People who ACTIVELY take part in social activities can also lessen the progression to dementia compared to those who isolate themselves once they develop the condition.
Reportedly, deep concentration and relaxation can lead to new brain cell growth, preventing the shrinking of the brain that is linked to Alzheimer’s.
Several studies have shown that “quieting” your mind is of paramount importance when it comes to reducing dementia risk.
People who meditate and take part in yoga sessions have MINIMAL brain atrophy compared to those who don’t. This is because meditation increases the brain’s protective tissue that helps us feel less worried and minimizes the effects of the cortisol hormone.
Cortisol is also associated with health problems related to lack of enough sleep. On top of that, it escalates the risk of having dementia.
The waste-draining system is highly active when asleep, which in turn clears the beta-amyloid levels in the brain.
11. Quality Sleep/Rest
While there might not be any clear evidence of whether or not sleep and dementia have something in COMMON, make sure you get enough rest every day.
That would be, on average, at least eight hours.
Keep in mind, there was a small study done that does somewhat support the idea that quality sleep CAN DECREASE the development of dementia. In short, the less REM sleep, the higher the chance of dementia.
At this point, music can be a great way to distract an individual.
A caregiver or aide can sing to a person when they are feeling frustrated or uneasy and it can help calm them down.
This may also work when the individual is handling a specific job. The music can give them the MOTIVATION they need to complete the tasks at hand.
Many are the times when persons with dementia feel low for one reason or the other. Music, for a long time, has proved to help brighten the moods of people with the illness.
Music can also help seniors to fight depression while encouraging positive interactions.
An individual may be sulking one minute, but when they listen to music, a smile may start forming on their face right away.
When you want to improve moods, it is usually best to play “stimulative music” that features quick tempos as well as percussive sounds. This kind tends to promote energy and movement naturally.
Leads to Better Health
Better health is often associated with music therapy and dementia. This kind of treatment can STIMULATE and STRUCTURE physical movement.
It is particularly helpful in those who are less likely to work out or engage in other physical activity.
It goes without saying that physical activity facilitates the health of various systems in the body including lymphatic, digestive, cardiovascular, respiratory, nervous, and skeletal/muscular among many others.
When verbal directions cannot be used to give out directions for exercise programs, music can offer the rhythm that is needed to stimulate participation.
Singing aids a person in deep breathing a prerequisite for physical relaxation.
This often precedes deep relaxation and sleep at times. Singing is enjoyable and comfortable for many.
Reduces Social Isolation
It happens commonly that music therapy professionals conduct group sessions for persons who have dementia.
This helps to reduce social isolation because it encourages golden-agers with the illness to go out there and interact with other people.
It is especially helpful for people who feel like they do not belong to any group. Thus, shy away from activities that can significantly benefit them at the end of the day.
When a person who is around others with a similar condition, they are bound to open up. This can result in making new friends and participating in fun activities that will make them happy.
Assist with Speech
Many experts agree that music therapy plays a crucial role in helping persons with dementia to communicate effectively. Persons who work with therapists have been known to speak clearer and even make better decisions.
When a person listens to music, they can pick up some words they know to help them construct sensible sentences to hold a conversation with another person without too much difficulty.
The therapy can even help SLOW DOWN sleep deterioration and language skills in individuals with dementia.
Some studies show that even though a person with this disease loses the ability to speak, most of the time, they can still recognize, or also sing or hum their favorite tunes.
Can Be Part of a Holistic Treatment Approach
Experts who deal with music therapy and dementia can combine the therapy with other therapeutical activities to come up with a holistic treatment approach to dementia.
Professional therapists can guide senior citizens with dementia as they participate in other activities such as games, creating art, cooking, crafts, and gardening, etc.
The experts should ensure that seniors with the medical condition always have a relaxed environment. A location where they can have fun without any stringent schedules to adhere to.
Even in the later stages, music therapy can also be used to offer a sense of better control over life.
It helps coordinate motor movements and aid in enhanced brain function.
Reduce Anxiety and Stress
Music therapy offers persons with dementia an avenue to get other people to listen to them and communicate experiences to find ways of distressing.
Participating in this type of treatment brings about positive influences in various areas of a person’s life.
This includes hope, communication skills, optimism, and well-being.
Many individuals with the illness also record increases in perceived happiness, enjoyment, enhanced mental health, and improved quality of life.
Additionally, structured therapy improves the potential for positive experiences leading to a positive impact on factors like self-efficacy and esteem.
This is important because it makes a person feel worthy again to live their lives to the fullest despite what they are going through.
Boosts Good Feelings and Ideas
Let’s face it, when listening to music, it is ALMOST IMPOSSIBLE to feel down. Sure, we need to focus on listening to the music that cheers us up and makes us feel good.
Why would you even want to listen to the tunes that make you feel sad and lonely?
Of course, music therapy is a FANTASTIC approach that will boost good feelings and great ideas in a person with dementia. It is a simple technique that almost always does the trick.
You can practice it immediately, especially if you have their favorite artist at hand. Raise the good vibes and let everyone in the room feel good by tuning in some good songs.
Manages Sleep Disorders
It is not uncommon for persons with dementia to experience troubles when it comes to sleep patterns.
Music therapy can assist such individuals to have longer hours of deep sleep. This is a great move for the health of an individual.
After all, getting enough rest and sleep is another way of reducing stress, anxiety, and agitation.
In regards to sleep, some people who have dementia will sleep better when they listen to some soothing tunes before they retire to bed.
Listening to such music helps to calm the soul so that an individual is not overthinking. Meaning, they can sleep peacefully for longer hours.
Some experts advise that listening to music before sleeping helps with insomnia, too.
Enhanced motor functioning is another area where individuals with dementia can benefit when they start music therapy.
When good music is playing, there is a high chance that the person listening will want to move about and dance.
Even when a person cannot stand up, they will probably move their arms and legs promoting coordination.
Tapping and clapping is another response to music that can help introduce feel-good hormones and get the blood flowing right.
A person can also improve their motor skills when they are playing an instrument. It can lead to more independence, especially if an individual is not yet in the last stages of the disease.
Music Therapy and Dementia Closing Remarks
The Alzheimer’s Association confirms that music therapy helps to add something fundamental to the lives of individuals with dementia-related illnesses.
This is why it is important to learn about music therapy and dementia. To some extent, it would be safe to say that music is therapeutic.
It offers individuals with the illness a chance not only to express themselves but also to engage with others.
Note that the simple act of playing music is not considered music therapy. Only credentialed experts can provide musical treatment so that it can bring out the desired effects in persons with dementia.
You must, therefore, DO ENOUGH RESEARCH when looking for a professional therapist to ensure that the individual with dementia remains in good hands.
There has been a lot of interest in the topic of blueberries and dementia when looking into the foods that can help improve memory.
For years, researchers have been looking into whether consumption of blueberries can help prevent the onset of dementia or perhaps slow down its progression.
This is because blueberries have been known to keep blood vessels clear of plaque, fight off the harmful effects of free radicals, and give people a boost from plant-based chemicals.
Blueberries and Dementia Prevention Benefits
The little blue fruits have also gained a reputation for being brain food that can improve memory and cognitive function.
Several studies have been done to identify the link between berries and this progressive illness.
Below we explore a couple of studies that investigated the link between dementia and blueberries.
Blueberries can Help Slow Cognitive Decline
Research published in Annals of Neurology reported that consuming flavonoids and berries slows down the rate of cognitive decline in women who are 70 years and older.
The study utilized data from a Nurse’s Health Study with over 120,000 registered nurses.
The researchers conducted the assessments on 16,010 participants all of whom were women. The Nurses Health Study commenced in 1976.
After four years, the participants were mostly asked questions about their eating habits. Over 16, 000 ladies also underwent memory testing between 1995 and 2001.
Researchers from different institutions including Harvard Medical School, Brigham Women’s Hospital, and German Centre for Neurodegenerative Disease uncovered that greater ingestion of strawberries and blueberries correlated with slower cognitive decline rates for up to two and a half years.
The ladies who showed the most improvement were taking two or more servings of berries weekly.
The authors of the study acknowledged that smaller trials of berry supplementation have also showcased positive results. They also stated that the study was only observational seeing that it primarily relied on dietary reporting from the nurses.
Furthermore, they also reported that it was not clear if the results would also apply to men because all the participants were ladies.
The authors encouraged males to take part in future studies to come up with more conclusive results. They also encouraged seniors to consume more berries as they can help delay memory decline.
Animal studies investigating ties between blueberries and dementia reveal that blueberries contain tons of phytochemicals that have a wealth of anti-inflammatory and antioxidant effects.
Additionally, anthocyanins and polyphenols present in blueberries can boost signaling in the brain centers that are associated with memory.
They also help to eliminate glucose which also helps to slow down memory decline.
Human studies on the same have also yielded promising results. In one of these studies, 12 seniors who had mild cognitive impairment took blueberry juice daily.
Blueberries can Improve Working Memory
They experienced improvements in functions of the brain and there was also evidence of improvements in working memory. This research is from the University of Exeter.
The researchers looked into the effects of the consumption of wild blueberry juice on memory decline in 12 adults who were aged 65-77. All the participants were experiencing memory decline related to aging showcasing symptoms like memory lapses.
The participants took 2 1/2 cups of blueberry juice for 12 weeks. This juice was made from commercially available frozen wild blueberries.
A comparison group of 14 adults was drinking a similar amount of placebo non-juice beverage for twelve weeks.
Researchers conducted several memory tests such as list learning, recall, and word association tasks before and after the study. The professionals also used an MRI scanner to monitor the brain function of the participants.
They also measured resting blood flow. The results indicated that the older adults who drank blueberry juice showed improvements in memory and learning tests when compared to the placebo group.
Researchers also said that they observed trends that suggested lower glucose levels and reduced depression symptoms among the participants who were drinking wild blueberry juice.
It is important to note that this study on blueberries and dementia excluded people who consumed more than 5 portions of vegetables and fruit daily.
The participants were told to stick to their normal diet throughout the entire study. Based on the results, more research needs to be done to confirm these results.
Blueberries May Lower the Risk of Dementia
Blueberries are categorized among the superfoods linked to a lower risk of dementia.
A study published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition observed 2,801 women and men who were over 50 years. At the beginning of the study, all the participants did not have dementia.
Over at least 20 years of follow-up, the professionals collected diet information at 5 periodic health examinations. 193 participants during this time developed Alzheimer’s disease or other types of dementia.
Lowered dementia risk was associated with intake of one type of flavonoid, anthocyanins abundant in red wine, strawberries, and blueberries.
Other foods that also contributed include oranges, pears, apples, tea, and bananas. The study controlled for numerous behavioral and health characteristics.
Additionally, subjects adhered to the government’s Dietary Guidelines for Americans which in addition to vegetables and fruits also emphasizes lean meats, whole grains, and other heart-healthy foods.
Paul F. Jacques the senior author of the study who is a scientist with Jean Mayer USDA Human Nutrition Research Centre on Aging at Tufts University stated that consumption by the individuals who benefited was not huge.
The monthly average was about 71/2 cup serving of blueberries or strawberries, 17 cups of tea, and 8 apples or pears.
He explained that it did not take much and all it took was a couple of servings of berries weekly and maybe an apple or two.
Health providers continue to be faced with multiple questions about recommendations for enhancing or maintaining cognitive function especially for people who have dementia.
Currently, several studies have been done to try and find out if there is a connection between the consumption of blueberries and dementia prevention.
Although many experts agree that taking blueberries is beneficial for the brain, further research is still necessary to confirm if they can help persons with dementia.
At some point, many people with dementia will develop restlessness behaviors. This is where an individual gets into the habit of pacing up and down without reason.
They may also start fidgeting without cause from the blues. Some will get agitated very quickly and may want to lash out at people all the time.
To take care of this issue, it is important that the person with dementia have a routine that they try and stick to on a daily basis.
This can help to keep them calm because they know what they do every day; thus, there is no need to fidget around or be restless.
Regular exercise has also been known to minimize restlessness.
When you notice that a person is always fidgeting, it is advisable to keep their hands busy with items like worry beads, or other items that they consider meaningful.
In the case of agitation, it may help to create a calm, soothing environment for a person who is triggered. Talking reassuring and lovingly to the person can help cool them down.
You may also want to consider something like a massage or any other activity that helps promote relaxation.
Individuals who have dementia may start to walk around aimlessly.
There are multiple reasons why they can do this, such as medication side effects, boredom, or they want to look for someone or something.
Wandering can put someone in danger.
A person can even get lost since they may not be able to trace their way back home.
To prevent this from happening, there are a couple of solutions you can explore to help you in the journey of coping with dementia, like:
Changing locks so that the person with the illness cannot easily get out of the house alone. It may seem a little mean, but there are times when you need to do this to keep the individual safe.
Accompanying the individuals on walks or when they go to the shops is encouraged.
Consider alarm systems, home monitoring systems, and tracking devices to enhance security.
A person fond of wandering should wear an ID bracelet with the phone number of a relative. It comes in handy when somehow they get lost because someone out there can help them get reunited with their caregiver.
There have been several studies looking into acupuncture and dementia. This is because there is an assumption that the treatment technique can help improve memory in persons with neurodegenerative illnesses.
Professionals perform acupuncture on a holistic perspective in a bid to defeat various exogenous factors.
Reports confirm that acupuncture may help protect neurons from deterioration to stimulate axonal regrowth in neurodegenerative illnesses like dementia.
Check out more details on what acupuncture is and how it can help improve memory in persons with dementia.