Alzheimer’s disease is an irreversible, progressive brain disorder that slowly destroys memory and thinking skills. It is the most common cause of dementia, which is a general term for memory loss and other cognitive issues that are serious enough to interfere with daily life.
Alzheimer’s disease is not a normal part of aging. The exact cause is not known, but the greatest risk factor is increasing age. Most people with Alzheimer’s disease are 65 years old and older. Alzheimer’s symptoms worsen over time and there is no known cure.
Research is currently being conducted, but evidence shows that people can take actions to reduce the risk of cognitive decline by making lifestyle changes. These changes which may help the body and brain include: participating in regular physical and mental activity, staying socially engaged, and maintaining good heart health. It is never too late to start these changes such as:
Physical Activity – Our bodies were meant to be active. Engaging in activity that increases your heart rate will increase blood flow, bringing oxygen and nutrients to the brain. It will also help reduce dementia risk factors like high blood pressure, diabetes, and elevated cholesterol. Here is a website to help you get started - https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/exercise-physical-activity
Mental Activity – Try some mentally challenging activities that expose your brain to new topics – start a new hobby or learn a new skill, take a class, try a new game with a friend, do a puzzle, or read a more challenging book. You could learn a new language, play a musical instrument. Try a familiar task a different way – like brushing your teeth with your non-dominant hand.
Healthy Nutrition – Focus more on plant-based food and less on processed foods. Limit animal-based food that have high saturated fats and also food with added sugar. Eat more fruits and vegetables – keep your plate colorful. Include whole grains, healthy fats (like olive oil and avocado) and eat fish at least once a week. More information can be found at - https://www.nia.nih.gov/health/healthy-eating
Social Activity - Staying socially active can be as simple as engaging with friends and family on a regular basis. Participate in clubs, volunteer, join a walking group or a book club. Even with being more socially distanced lately, you can do outdoor activities, talk on the phone with a friend, use the computer to take an online class.
Begin today by committing to one thing you can do this week to help keep your body and brain healthy. For more information about Alzheimer’s disease and dementia, please contact the following -
OPICA Adult Day Program & Counseling Center
Alzheimer’s Los Angeles
Alzheimer’s Association California Southland Chapter
The Health & Wellness Committee is comprised of Chamber members from various disciplines focusing on the aspects of health and wellness that will help members both personally and professionally.