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Early Alzheimer’s Prevention Tips

people in Indiana were living with Alzheimer’s. By 2025, researchers in the Hoosier state believe that number will climb to 130,000. 
Alzheimer’s usually occurs in people aged 65 and older. Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for the disease.
While there’s no way to predict whether or not you will be touched by Alzheimer’s, there are steps people of all ages can take to keep their brains sharp and ward off this debilitating disease.
5 Ways to Ward Off Alzheimer’s Disease

  1. Learn A New Language

Taking a class to learn a new language can have a great impact on your brain. The brain is a lot like a muscle—you have to exercise it in order to keep it strong and prevent atrophy. By challenging yourself to learn a foreign language, you are making the brain stronger by improving cognitive skills and overall function. The increased neural activity protects your brain against aging. 

  1. Read Everyday

 Aside from providing a great source of entertainment, committing to a regular
reading routine can have great brain-boosting benefits. It helps to increase intelligence, improve memory function and ward off Alzheimer’s disease. An active brain is the first line of defense against dementia. 

  1. Mind Your Diet

Eating a healthy diet composed mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, lean proteins and omega-3 filled fish has been linked to better brain health. Studies on the Mediterranean Diet, which is rich in fruits, vegetables, olive oil, whole grains and fish, have found it helps to slow cognitive decline in older adults and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease.
The Five Star Signature Dining program features many Mediterranean-inspired dishes that can help you not only feel your best physically, but mentally as well. 

  1. Tackle The Crossword Puzzle

While the science behind crossword puzzles has not been definitively linked to warding off Alzheimer’s disease, most researchers agree that remaining intellectually stimulated and engaged helps to improve brain function as you age. 
A study published in the journal Psychological Science in the Public Interest found that older adults who “engaged in more frequent cognitive activity experienced a reduced rate of cognitive decline.” A regular crossword or Sudoku puzzle habit is a fun way to keep your brain engaged on a regular basis. 

  1. Take More Walks

Increased physical activity has also been linked to lower rates of Alzheimer’s disease. The good news is that you don’t have to be a CrossFit junkie in order to reap the benefits. Simply increasing your walking routine, in both frequency and duration, can have a big impact on brain health.
A recent study examined the effects of physical activity on over 5,000 women over the age of 65. Researchers found that the most active women in the group lowered their risk of dementia by 30 percent. It was also noted that the distance walked had more of an impact on brain health than the speed at which the women were walking. This is promising, especially since almost two-thirds of Alzheimer’s patients are women.
While it may be impossible to completely prevent yourself or an aging loved one from developing Alzheimer’s disease, incorporating some of these tips into your life may at least slow the progression.
At Five Star, we are committed to helping all of our residents live their best lives. We know the ideal way to do that is to incorporate good habits into your life.

Apps and Brain Games for Alzheimer’s Prevention

Alzheimer’s disease is the most common type of dementia. It is characterized by a progressive decline in cognitive function and deterioration of daily life. Alzheimer’s currently affects over 5 million Americans.

People who are diagnosed with the disease have problems with memory, behavior and thinking. These issues often cause feelings of frustration and anger in both the patient and the caregiver.

While there is no cure at present, studies have identified steps adults can take that may prevent Alzheimer’s or at least delay the progression.

There’s An App for That

With the rise of technology in recent years, mobile and tablet applications have been developed with the intention of helping exercise your brain. According to Nadine Kaslow, PhD., a professor and vice chair of Emory University’s Department of Psychiatry, apps can help promote mental health and improve psychological functioning.

In addition to using apps to improve memory, Kaslow has said, “There are also studies that show people who engage in these video games are less likely to develop brain plaques associated with Alzheimer’s disease. Keeping your mind active is as important as physical exercise and these apps can help you stay fit mentally.”

Some brain apps to consider include:

  • Lumosity: Available for Android and iOS, free for limited access or choice of $15 monthly subscription or $80 annual subscription
  • Peak: Brain Training: Available for Android and iOS, free for limited access or choice of $4.99 for monthly subscription or $34.99 for annual subscription
  • Matrix-Memory Challenge: Brain Training Game: Available for iOS, free
  • CogniFit Brain Fitness: Available for iOS, free for limited access or choice of $13 monthly subscription or $120 for annual subscription

Online Games Are Not Just for Teenagers

In addition to mobile apps and games, studies have shown that online games may be useful in keeping the brain active and warding off Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers at King’s College London found that playing brain-training games online had a distinct advantage for people over the age of 50.

After playing the games for a period of 6 months, researchers found an increase in reasoning and problem-solving cognitive skills, especially for those that played 5 times a week or more.

The study, which was performed through a partnership with the Alzheimer’s Society, also found that people over 60 who play games daily scored higher in terms of carrying out everyday tasks.

“While this study wasn’t long enough to test whether the brain training package can prevent cognitive decline or dementia,” said Dr. Doug Brown of the Alzheimer’s Society. “We’re excited to see that it can have a positive impact on how well older people perform essential everyday tasks.”

Online games that may help keep your brain sharp include:

  • AARP’s Brain games
  • Puzzle Play
  • Games for the Brain

To stay up to date with the latest news on successful aging, we invite you to follow the Five Star Senior Living blog. We share the latest news and research several times each week!