It’s well known that a healthy lifestyle provides many benefits for older adults, but according to new research, healthy lifestyle choices have been shown to significantly lower the risk of Alzheimer’s disease. With the number of Americans being diagnosed with dementia or Alzheimer’s increasing, this new research, which identifies several healthy lifestyle factors, is an important step forward in understanding potential preventive measures that may help older adults.
In reviewing data from two longitudinal population studies, National Institute on Aging researchers identified five healthy lifestyle factors which have important long-term health benefits. Researchers found that study participants who followed four or five of the healthy lifestyle factors had a 60% lower risk of developing Alzheimer’s.
The five lifestyle factors identified in the study that when practiced in combination with one another impact long-term cognitive health and healthy aging are:
- Exercise. Strive for consistent, moderate to vigorous-intensity physical activity for at least 150 minutes per week. This equates to approximately 20 – 30 minutes of daily exercise, which can come from a combination of activities – walking, swimming, gardening, dancing, and more.
- Diet. A healthy diet brings a variety of benefits, not just for cognitive health, but for physical health, too. Researchers recommend the Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay (MIND) diet. This combines the Mediterranean diet -- fruits, vegetables, whole grains, legumes, fish, and other seafood, as well as unsaturated fats such as olive oils, and low amounts of red meat, eggs, and sweets with the Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension (DASH) diet, which is focused on reducing high blood pressure, a known risk for Alzheimer’s disease.
- Engagement in life. Maintaining engagement in life by participating in activities that keep the mind active is important for overall mental and physical wellness. This can include crossword puzzles, logic and math activities, learning and practicing a new language or instrument, reading and more.
- Light to moderate alcohol consumption. Limiting the use of alcohol is beneficial not just for reducing long-term Alzheimer’s risk, but also for physical and mental health. Drinking too much alcohol can lead to an increased risk of falls and can be used to mask symptoms of depression and anxiety.
- Stopping or not starting smoking. Research has shown that even in people who have smoked for decades, stopping smoking brings improved health. In addition to reducing the risk of Alzheimer’s, stopping smoking lowers a person’s risk of heart attack, stroke, and cancer.
To help ensure senior loved ones are establishing and maintaining healthy lifestyle choices, Florida families have trusted the referred care provider experts at American, Advocate and Whitsyms In-Home Care since 1992. Referred care providers work with your loved one to help implement and encourage healthy lifestyle choices based upon personal preferences and needs. Services are designed to enhance independence and can include:
- Friendly and engaging conversations about current and historic events
- A companion to help encourage regular physician-approved exercise
- Encouragement to engage in hobbies new and old to keep the mind sharp
- Meal planning and preparation and companionship during mealtime
- Light housekeeping and laundry to free up time for fun outings
- Specialized memory care activities for older adults diagnosed with Alzheimer’s or dementia
- And much more
If you are interested in learning more about how in-home care services can help promote a healthy lifestyle, reach out to the location nearest you. We look forward to providing additional information and resources to help an older adult you love.
- American In-Home Care – Serving North, Central, and West Coast of Florida
- Advocate In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
- Whitsyms In-Home Care – Serving Southeast and Southwest Florida
State of Florida License and Registration Numbers: 30211518, 30211651, 30211295, 30211390, 30210978, 30211293, 30211382, 30211504, 30211733, 30211535, 30211531, 30211710, 30211709, 30211045, 5661