Reducing the Risk of Dementia
As people age, they fear the onset of neurodegenerative diseases like dementia. Though aging is inevitable, many will cross the widest oceans and the highest mountains to ensure that they will remain healthy and well both physically and mentally.
According to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, dementia is the most common type of Alzheimer’s disease. It is estimated that around 5.8 million people in the country have Alzheimer’s disease and related dementias. While it is true that dementia often troubles the older population, it is not a common symptom of normal aging.
What is dementia?
The National Institute of Aging defined dementia as “the loss of cognitive functioning — thinking, remembering, and reasoning — to such an extent that it interferes with a person’s daily life and activities”. Aside from this, psychological changes also occur like depression, anxiety, paranoia, and hallucinations.
There are dementias like Alzheimer’s disease, vascular and Lewy body dementia which are progressive and irreversible. This means that once the brain cells are damaged they cannot be treated or repaired anymore regardless of the cause.
Furthermore, there are also dementia-like disorders such as infections and immune disorders, metabolic problems, nutritional deficiencies, depression, excess alcohol and drug consumption and brain tumors. All these can be treated through medicines, therapies and surgeries.
In spite of the numerous research and studies about this particular disease, many are still baffled by how it befalls someone. Sad to say, the majority of people with dementia do not receive a formal diagnosis or even treatments.
How to intervene against the occurrence of dementia?
Early detection and a healthy lifestyle can be the most effective intervention for dementia. Medical experts and professionals all believe that a person must be able to live a healthy and well-balanced life to elude the development of this disease.
New research suggests that these three lifestyle habits strongly correlate to lower the risk of dementia as people age.
Regular Physical Activity
Frequent exercise and other physical activities have proven time and time again their benefits to one’s health. Studies also show that regular physical activities like running or a 30-minute walk around your neighborhood can also do wonders to your mental health. They lower the risk of dementia by 35 percent.
Not many are aware that housework-related activities like doing the dishes or washing your clothes reduce the occurrence of dementia by 21%. The reason behind this could be that in a way this is one form of physical activity plus household chores require focus and concentration. It is an exercise for your brain as well.
Social Interaction with Family and Friends
Visits and meetings with family and friends can bring down symptoms of dementia by 15%. As you grow older, it is never a good idea to isolate yourself from people. You also have to note that you need to be surrounded with optimistic and happy people that will influence your lifestyle.
How to deal with people with dementia?
It takes a great deal of patience, understanding and love to deal with a loved one battling dementia. You know that it will never be an easy feat but helping them without questions and hesitations can lighten the burden even if sometimes they are unaware of it.
People with dementia undergo so many changes. They are not anymore the person that you used to know. Some changes so abruptly in a short period. At first, symptoms can be harmless like forgetting their keys. But as dementia progresses, their condition worsens. They cannot anymore recognize you.
As much as you want to give them the best care, you must never forget to look after your mental health as well. You need to safeguard your health and wellness from this negative experience.
Mindshift Psychological Services sees the importance of keeping yourself sane and stable amidst dealing with dementia. We offer therapy and counseling sessions for families who have to witness and deal with the harsh and ugly side of people with dementia.
You may not know it but maybe you are on the verge of having depression and anxiety. Visit our website to read more about our services. You may also contact us at (714)584-9700 to schedule an appointment.