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June is Alzheimer’s and Brain Health Awareness Month

Five Tips for Brain Health and Prevention of Alzheimer's Dementia

Optimal brain health can enhance our memory and thinking and can prevent, delay, or slow dementia. Fortunately, optimizing brain health can be as simple as eating well, staying active; and prioritizing sleep. Of course, “simple” does not mean “easy” and most of us need to be reminded of the importance of these steps on occasion. This brain health awareness month, challenge yourself to make a positive, impactful change in one (or more) of these areas.

This will look different for each of us. “Eating well” for us might mean the Mediterranean diet, while “eating well” for our neighbor might mean making food choices based on carbohydrate content. Your medical doctors, nurses, and nutritionists are always the best source of personalized dietary advice. Similarly, you should always discuss your exercise goals and plans with your providers. Research has consistently shown that moderate aerobic exercise is particularly beneficial for brain health. However, it is most important that you find some type of movement that you enjoy and that you can do consistently. Strength training, yoga, Pilates, and good old fashioned walking are also beneficial for physical and mental health. On the topic of physical exercise and walking for brain health, consider a commitment to the Alzheimer's Association Walk to End Alzheimer’s (this fall)- join us in raising funds and awareness for Alzheimer’s care, support, and research. You’ll be contributing to an important cause AND engaging in physical activity. For more information, and to donate or volunteer, click here.

Research has shown that people who regularly use their brains to engage in stimulating and enjoyable activities are more likely to maintain normal memory and cognition throughout the aging process, rather than “lose” their thinking abilities. Again, activity level looks different from person to person. While some of us enjoy reading novels and considering “whodunnit?,” others want to read nonfiction to learn everything they can about history. Others enjoy card games, travel, socializing, work or volunteering, caretaking for grandkids, puzzles, brain games…. The list goes on and there truly is something for everyone. Finally, getting enough restful sleep is a critical part of brain health. Sleep can be tricky to manage; although many of us who are eating well, exercising regularly, and staying busy throughout the day are likely to sleep well each night. For others, behavioral strategies and/or sleep medicine specialists are useful resources.


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