Over the next 10 to 20 years, it is anticipated that the 16,300 Nova Scotians who already have dementia will significantly grow. Baby Boomers are more likely to develop dementia as they age, and as the population of Nova Scotians who have the disease grows, so will the demands placed on the healthcare system and unpaid carers.
But this increase in dementia incidence isn’t inevitable. In truth, there are some straightforward, practical strategies to help yourself and your loved ones lower your risk of acquiring dementia, many of which may be categorized as basic self-care, even while other risk factors (including genetics) cannot be changed. Even better, maintaining your mental health also contributes to the prevention of other chronic conditions like diabetes and heart disease.
Simple measures to help prevent dementia include eating a nutritious diet, avoiding head injuries, and getting enough sleep each night. The “Fountain of Health” program, created by Nova Scotian psychiatrist Dr. Kerri-Leigh Cassidy, promotes healthy behavior patterns in five other areas to improve long-term brain health and wellbeing: positive thinking, social engagement, physical activity, brain challenge, and mental wellness.
Everyone has heard the advice to be optimistic, keep a gratitude notebook, and practice mindfulness. Even though it can occasionally feel cliché, maintaining a cheerful mindset can actually be beneficial for both your mental and physical health. A positive view on life increases your likelihood of making decisions that are good for your health, such as taking part in healthy activities, meeting new friends, and learning new things — all of which can contribute to a longer, happier life.
Stay physically and socially active
Regular exercisers are less likely to develop diabetes and heart disease, two conditions that are risk factors for dementia. Increasing blood flow improves mood while providing your brain with essential nutrients and oxygen. Gentle hobbies like gardening and walking qualify as beneficial exercise just as much as skydiving or running marathons.
Regular social engagement may lower your risk of dementia by reducing social isolation and despair, according to research. Staying socially active might include anything from going to church or club meetings to volunteering in your neighborhood, organizing regular get-togethers with friends, or even just striking up a conversation with the grocery store cashier.
Seek out challenges
Learning new things is as vital to maintaining continued brain health as regular exercise and a balanced diet. Your brain gets stronger the more you utilize it, just like a muscle. In other words, lifelong learning and continual education can help fend against dementia and memory issues. Long-term brain health can be sustained by engaging in activities including reading, puzzles, card games, hobbies, and acquiring new skills.
There are more ways to boost your brain health. Find out more at https://www.yourdoctors.ca/blog/healthy-living/brain-health