If you have a history of dementia in your family, you may be worried you’re going to inherit this disease as you get older.
The good news is that most types of dementia and Alzheimer’s diseases are not something your family typically passes down. While some types of dementia are genetic, they’re incredibly rare. In fact, 99 out of 100 cases of Alzheimer’s disease are not inherited.
With your genes off the table, age becomes the number one risk factor for developing this condition.
Growing older may be inevitable, but you may reduce other risk factors that increase your chances of getting dementia as you age. While there’s no guarantee you won’t require dementia care in your golden years, these tips may protect you from developing dementia and Alzheimer’s.
1. Lower Your Blood Pressure
People with hypertension are at a greater risk of developing vascular dementia, not to mention a long list of other heat-related illnesses. Safely increasing your activity levels will help lower your blood pressure, as will eating a balanced diet, reducing stress, and cutting back on caffeine.
2. Quit Smoking
If you still smoke, consider this your sign to quit. Admittedly, it isn’t easy saying goodbye to this particular vice, especially if you’ve been smoking all your life. If you’re finding it hard to butt out, talk to your doctor or join a counseling group for support.
3. Manage Type 2 Diabetes
Recent studies suggest you can’t cure Type 2 diabetes. However, you can control your glucose levels and go into remission through diet changes and weight loss.
4. Lose Weight
Another risk factor that increases your chances of developing dementia is obesity. The Alzheimer’s Society specifically points to obesity in mid-life, when you’re between 45 and 65.
5. Increase Your Physical Activity
Sedentary people have a greater risk of developing dementia, so you’ll want to get off the couch and move more often. Walking, Tai Chi, and yoga are perfect low-impact options for seniors.
6. A Healthy Diet
A poor diet high in salt, sugar, and saturated fats may be another risk factor. A healthy diet, on the other hand, is full of fruits and vegetables, whole grains, plant-based proteins, lean meats, and low-fat dairy items. Some processed foods and snacks won’t hurt you as long as they don’t make up the lion’s share of your meals.
7. Drink Less
While a glass of wine with dinner might not hurt, excessive drinking could increase your chances of developing dementia. For women, that’s more than 14 drinks a week, or more than 21 drinks for men.
8. Keep Your Brain Active
Like the rest of your body, your brain benefits from a little workout now and again. You can keep your brain fitby reading or playing cognitive games like sudoku and crosswords.
At-home dementia care professionals will play cognitive games with their seniors, too. While cognitive games won’t cure this degenerative disease, they improve the quality of life for people living with dementia.
9. Social Engagement
It can be hard to stay as socially active as you age simply because your mobility and health may change. If you’re finding it hard to get out as often as you used to, consider reaching out to a home care service. They can provide you with a companion who assists you with outings and other daily tasks.
The great thing about this list is that no tip works alone. If you join a senior’s club to meet new people and get more active, you might just lose weight and reduce your blood pressure! Tackle these risk factors to reduce your chances of developing dementia as a senior.