Dementia and the Elderly: What You Need to Know

About 6.2 million senior citizens in America suffer from dementia. Along with memory problems, it can impair the person’s decision-making abilities and cause anxiety or depression.

If you have a loved one with early signs of the condition, you can reach out to certified senior living advisors to help you find out the best care options. They can provide the proper care the patient needs while still maintaining a good quality of life.

Dementia and Alzheimer’s Disease

Dementia is the general term used for diminished cognitive ability, while Alzheimer’s disease is the most common kind of this ailment. It’s a particular condition where severe memory loss interferes with the person’s language and control of thought.

There’s no cure for dementia, but there are various treatments that can help manage the condition:

  • Therapies: An occupational therapist can help manage the patient’s behavior and avoid accidents by reducing clutter, keeping dangerous objects away, and installing monitoring systems to keep an eye on the patient at all times.
  • Home Remedies: Some home remedies that can be done to treat a patient with dementia are exercising and enhancing communication. They can avoid restlessness and improve their balance and strength while improving their speech.
  • Medications: Doctors may prescribe certain medications that can treat sleep disturbances, depression, and agitation that dementia patients usually experience.

How You Can Lower Your Risk of Dementia

Quit Smoking

Smoking can cause brain damage that can eventually lead to cognitive decline. Smokers are 30% more likely to have dementia, especially heavy smokers. Quit smoking as soon as possible because it can make your body more vulnerable to other diseases like cancer and heart disease.

To help you quit smoking, surround yourself with family and friends that will remind you to say no to a cigarette. They can help you stay away from triggers like alcohol and other family members who also smoke. It’s also recommended that you start a new hobby to serve as a distraction from having the urge to smoke.

Stay Socially and Mentally Active

Social isolation can cause a faster cognitive decline in older people as it makes them feel disconnected. The COVID-19 restrictions made the situation worse for some elderly with dementia as it led to severe symptoms. Aside from cognitive decline, loneliness and social isolation can cause other conditions like depression, heart disease, and obesity.

It’s important for older people to stay socially and mentally active to reduce the risk of having cognitive impairment. Join activities and learn new skills to be able to meet new people and keep your mind active.

Control Your Blood Pressure

High blood pressure has harmful effects on the brain, as it increases the risk of vascular dementia. Control your blood pressure by making healthy lifestyle changes like having a balanced diet, staying physically active, using less salt, and managing stress.

Meditation and relaxation exercises also help calm the sympathetic nervous system that narrows the blood vessels. They promote activity in the parasympathetic nervous system that widens the blood vessels.

Maintain a Healthy Weight

weighing scale

Obesity can also increase your risk of developing dementia as excess body fat causes inflammation that damages brain proteins. Switch to a more active lifestyle and maintain a healthy diet to manage your weight.

Sleep Well

When you don’t get enough sleep, your brain cannot remove toxins and other substances properly. When they continue to accumulate, they form clumps in the brain that can cause cognitive disorders. Encourage better sleep at night by improving your sleep environment and maintaining a regular bedtime routine.

Here are some tips for you to get better sleep:

  • Boost Your Melatonin Levels: Avoid gadgets and turn off the TV before bedtime to reduce your exposure to artificial lights, which can suppress melatonin production. You can also take melatonin supplements to aid your natural sleep cycle.
  • Have a Regular Sleep Schedule: Make it a habit to have a consistent sleep schedule to achieve better rest and improve your sleep routine.
  • Avoid Big Meals Before Bed: Large amounts of food taken before bedtime can lead to indigestion that disrupts your sleep pattern. Make sure to eat at least three hours before bedtime.

Dementia can have a significant impact on the patient’s life and their family as well. Relationships and bonds can suffer damage because of it.

Prevention is the best way to reduce the risk of developing this condition, along with unending support from their loved ones. Since there’s no known cure for the disease, developing preventive habits as early as now will reduce your risk of dementia and other health problems.

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