There are currently estimated to be more than 35 million people living with dementia across the globe, according to the World Health Organization. This figure is expected to double by 2030, and more than triple by 2050. There are also estimated to be 5.4 million in the U.S. who’ve been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, and this number is expected to double or even triple by 2050. Another 1.8 million Americans have some form of dementia.
Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia are considered to be an age-related brain disorder representing the fourth highest source of overall disease in high income countries such as the U.S., Canada, Australia, Japan and many European nations.
Age is the primary risk factor for developing dementia, according to the National Institute of Neurological Disorders and Stroke. Suffering from dementia means losing the ability to think, remember, or reason to an extent that it interferes with the ability to perform daily activities.
Some of the risk factors for developing an age-related brain disease include:
To help reduce the instance of depression in seniors, assisted living for retirees in Tampa — as well as in other regions of the nation — include programs that help to decrease or eliminate risk factors like depression. This common affliction is said to affect 15 percent of Americans over the age of 65, according to the Geriatric Mental Health Foundation. In the Emeritus Senior Living communities, groups of professionals visit residents to conduct emotional wellness checks as well as to connect them to activities to battle depression.
Fortunately, there are many ways to boost your brain power and strength in order to maintain good brain health and mental abilities while decreasing the risk of dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Research and Prevention Foundation, getting regular exercise can reduce the risk of developing the disease by as much as 50 percent. It can even slow the progression of brain illness as well as improve memory and boost the mood, reducing the instance of depression.
Ideally, you should aim to get 150 minutes of exercise each week, including both aerobic activities and strength training. Any form of activity that helps get your heart pumping and muscles moving is beneficial, but some of the best exercises include swimming, hiking, dancing, cycling, jogging or using cardio equipment at the gym like a treadmill or elliptical machine.
Mental exercise may decrease the risk of Alzheimer’s by 70 percent, making brain aerobics important to include in your daily routine. You can do anything to challenge the brain as long as it engages your attention, involves one or more of the senses and breaks your normal routine in an unexpected way.
Activities might include reading, solving a puzzle or even learning a new language. In fact, studies have found that you may have a better chance of delaying the onset of several different forms of dementia just by speaking a second language.
A healthy diet is also essential for preventing age-related brain disease. Avoid processed foods, especially those containing trans fats and saturated fat. Include plenty of antioxidant-rich foods such as brightly colored fruits and vegetables along with healthy fats derived from foods like coconut or olive oil, flaxseed oil, nuts and seeds to improve memory as well as help prevent Alzheimer’s and other forms of dementia.
Certain foods have been found to actually boost your brain function while protecting against age-associated cognitive decline such as walnuts, berries, sardines, avocados, garlic and even dark chocolate. Beverages like coffee and water are also said to support brain health.