June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, a time to raise awareness about the condition and overall brain health.
While aging is a significant risk factor for Alzheimer’s, research suggests that adopting healthy lifestyle habits can contribute to healthier brain aging. Here are five tips to enhance brain health and potentially reduce the likelihood of cognitive deterioration:
- Consistent Exercise: Regular physical activity can improve memory and cognition.
- A Well-Balanced Diet: Consuming ample fruits, vegetables and whole grains has been associated with enhanced cognitive performance.
- Adequate Sleep: Getting seven hours of sleep each night can benefit physical and psychological health.
- Social and Mental Stimulation: Engaging in meaningful social and mental activities may support cognitive health.
- Heart Health: Intensive treatment of high blood pressure can mitigate the onset of mild cognitive impairment.
Moreover, I strongly urge caregivers to explore ways to enhance their Dementia Awareness. Caregivers can create a secure, valuable and comfortable environment for individuals living with dementia symptoms by becoming more cognizant of the condition. Here are five strategies to help you achieve that:
- Be their cognitive companion: Recognize individuals experiencing dementia symptoms as having a “cognitive impairment” and struggling to process the overwhelming amount of data they receive from the world. By empathizing and providing essential information from their perspective, you can alleviate anxiety and fear.
- Reduce question-asking: Responding to questions requires cognitive processing ability, which can be challenging for someone experiencing cognitive impairment. Limiting questions can prevent a potential source of anxiety.
- Information Filtering: Evaluate the crucial details that should be communicated in each specific situation. Even routine tasks like maintaining balance require mental processing power. By eliminating irrelevant details, you can help your loved one concentrate on the task at hand.
- Utilize positive directives: Determine the answer to a question first before directing the conversation toward the desired outcome using positive language. Instead of asking a question like “Should we fold the laundry?”, propose “Let’s fold the laundry together,” and appreciate their efforts.
- Share their emotional journey: To develop trust, empathize with your care recipient’s emotions. This entails recognizing their feelings, even if they differ from yours. If something frightens them, validate their emotions. Validating their feelings will alleviate fear and uncertainty in various situations.
For more information about my Dementia Aware trainings, click here.