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Maintain Your Brain: Reducing the Risk of Dementia


It’s never too early or too late to live a brain healthy lifestyle.

 

Currently, 55 million people around the world are living with dementia and this number is expected to grow to 139 million by 2050. However, 405 of dementia cases could be prevented or delayed by addressing modifiable risk factors.


The World Alzheimer’s report 2023 and the American Society on Aging has identified 6 key areas of brain health:

 

  1. Exercise regularly - movement is key! It promotes cardiovascular health, improves blood flow to the brain, reduces inflammation, and lowers stress hormones. It is recommended to exercise 150 minutes per week (30 minutes, 5 days a week).

 

  1. Eat right to fuel the brain - a Mediterranean-style diet rich in fish, whole grains, green leafy vegetables, olives, and nuts helps maintain brain health and may reduce the risk of cognitive decline.

 

  1. Sleep and Relaxation - prioritize sleep hygiene and stick to a sleep schedule/routine.

 

  1. Social connection - prioritize quality over quantity when engaging with others and your community. Engage in meaningful special activities that have brain health benefits.

 

  1. Engage your brain - engaging your brain in challenging ways improves your overall brain health. Switch up your routine, learn new skills and tasks, work/volunteer, play various types of games, take a class online or in person, etc.

 

  1. Manage stress - stress is a given and expected; however, it’s how you react and manage it that can impact the brain. Chronic stress can do damage to the brain through cell death and shrinking of areas of the brain involving memory and mood regulation.

 

Where do you start?

 

The first steps can be daunting, but making small changes and building up slowly will make an important difference for your brain health. Consider exploring the resources below for more support and guidance around reducing your risk of dementia.

 

This post is intended to increase the community's awareness and understanding of tangible tasks and activities that you can engage in to reduce your risk of dementia. This post is written by Allie, an intern at Normandale Center for Healing & Wholeness and Masters of Social Work intern for St. Mary’s University of Minnesota.

 

If you are caring for someone who is struggling with memory loss or know someone that could benefit from resources and education surrounding support for caregivers, consider contacting us for a care consultation to learn more about our services: Normandale Care Consultation services

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