As you age, you might begin to expect some cognitive changes and memory loss. But this doesn’t have to be the case. There are ways to start boosting your brain health right away. At our virtual summit, top brain health experts discussed how to improve brain health for optimal health and performance.
Discover more about this special event, how Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress, and how to take steps toward a brain-healthy life.
How to improve your brain health journey
At our event presented by the Women’s Alzheimer’s Movement (WAM) and Hilarity for Charity (HFC), brain health experts and celebrity advocates are among those who share ways to fight Alzheimer’s disease by living a brain-healthy life.
There’s strong research pointing to a connection between brain health and Alzheimer’s. Special breakout sessions during the event included discussions on how the following topics link to brain health:
- Emotional wellbeing
Founded by Maria Shriver, WAM’s mission is to discover why Alzheimer’s is more prevalent in women and communities of color. The team works to share information and prevention tools with these communities.
HFC is led by Seth Rogen and Lauren Miller Rogen, with a mission to activate the next generation of Alzheimer’s advocates by educating young people on living a brain-healthy life.
Kensington Senior Living partnered with the two organizations to bring this event to our community.
How do Alzheimer’s disease and dementia progress?
The stages of the disease often are categorized as early, middle, and late, but changes in the brain can begin several years before any signs appear. This time period is known as preclinical Alzheimer’s disease.
The person usually is still independent and able to drive, go to work, and have an active social life in the early stage. Friends and family, however, may begin to notice some changes, including:
- Losing or misplacing objects
- Trouble planning or organizing
- Difficulty coming up with the right word or name
- Difficulty performing tasks in work or social settings
The middle stage can last for many years, with the person gradually requiring more care and assistance.
Symptoms will vary, but include:
- Confusion about location or time of day
- Changes in sleep patterns
- Withdrawing from social activity
- Forgetting events or personal history
- Wandering or becoming lost
- Personality and behavior changes
Dementia symptoms become severe in the final stage. Communication will become difficult, and the person will need extensive care.
Someone in the late stage may experience:
- Changes in physical abilities such as walking, sitting, or swallowing
- Loss of awareness of surroundings or recent events
- Greater susceptibility to infections
Fortunately, even someone already experiencing symptoms of Alzheimer’s or dementia can begin taking steps toward better brain health.
Building and maintaining optimal brain health
It’s never too early or too late to begin incorporating lifestyle changes that will help improve brain health and prevent Alzheimer’s or dementia.
These healthy changes will help you prevent cognitive decline by strengthening your brain, and maintaining your best brain health.
The best brain diet
Research shows the best brain foods also are good at protecting your heart and blood vessels, too. These types of foods contain omega-3 fatty acids, antioxidants, and B vitamins.
Some brain superfoods include:
- Leafy green vegetables such as kale, spinach, and broccoli
- Fatty fish such as salmon, cod, and canned light tuna
- Nuts, and walnuts in particular
- Olive oil
- Tea and coffee
- Strawberries and blueberries
Exercise and sleep are two big protectors of brain health. Regular aerobic exercise such as biking, swimming, and running help preserve existing brain cells and encourage the growth of new ones.
Older adults still need seven to nine hours of sleep. Following a regular sleep schedule will boost your mental and physical health, and protect the brain from decline. Fortunately, increased exercise results in better sleep, too.
Stress relief and meditation
Stress weighs seriously on the brain and body. It can lead to decreased brain function and hormone imbalances, among many other things.
To take back control of your mental health, try these balancing methods:
- Prayer or meditation
- Deep breathing
- Social activity
Considerations for women
Nearly two-thirds of people diagnosed with Alzheimer’s are women, which experts believe is tied to hormones and women’s brain responses to stress.
Greater awareness of these factors is important for helping women to seek relief and be proactive about protecting their brains.
How to stay consistent with your practices
Brain health is a life-long journey, similarly to any health or fitness plan. Look to family and friends for support, and share your goals with others. Friends in your age group might feel encouraged to join you once they learn the brain-health benefits.
Start small, and build in your practices over time. Big life changes all at once are difficult to commit to. Be sure to check with your doctor before changing your diet and exercise routines, as well, to ensure it is safe for you.
The Kensington Redondo Beach’s enhanced memory care
We hope that with this event, you now feel confident in how to improve brain health in yourself and your loved ones.
If your or a loved one’s brain health is a top concern, consider getting support from a community offering enhanced memory care.
You don’t even have to be experiencing symptoms to move to a community where your health is a top priority, and you can leave behind the stresses of maintaining a home.
At The Kensington Redondo Beach, we offer assisted living and advanced memory care, so our residents can truly “age in place” in a community where all your care and comfort needs are met.
Our Promise is to love and care for your family as we do our own. Reach out to us today to learn more about our community, and how we can best support you in moving a loved one to a community setting.