Do you have a New Year’s resolution planned for 2019? The top 10 New Year’s resolutions include losing weight, getting organized, quitting smoking, spending more time with friends and family, and learning a new skill or hobby. Many of these New Year’s resolutions have one thing in common – they help support and promote brain health.
Growing evidence suggests that people can reduce their risk of cognitive decline by adopting key lifestyle habits, such as exercising, reading, eating healthy, and spending time with loved ones, according to the Alzheimer’s Association. If you’d like to boost your health this year – and reduce the risk of Alzheimer’s disease and dementia – follow the Alzheimer’s Association’s tips for loving your brain this 2019:
- Break a sweat. Engage in regular cardiovascular exercise that elevates your heart rate and increases blood flow to the brain and body. Several studies have found an association between physical activity and reduced risk of cognitive decline.
- Hit the books. Formal education in any stage of life will help reduce your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. For example, take a class at a local college, community center, or online.
- Butt out. Evidence shows that smoking increases risk of cognitive decline. Quitting smoking can reduce that risk to levels comparable to those who have not smoked.
- Follow your heart. Evidence shows that risk factors for cardiovascular disease and stroke – obesity, high blood pressure, and diabetes – negatively impact your cognitive health. Take care of your heart, and your brain just might follow.
- Heads up! Brain injury can raise your risk of cognitive decline and dementia. Wear a seat belt, use a helmet when playing contact sports or riding a bike, and take steps to prevent falls.
- Fuel up right. Eat a healthy and balanced diet that is lower in fat and higher in vegetables and fruit to help reduce the risk of cognitive decline. Although research on diet and cognitive function is limited, certain diets, including the Mediterranean and Mediterranean-DASH (Dietary Approaches to Stop Hypertension) diets, may contribute to risk reduction.
- Catch some ZZZs. Not getting enough sleep due to conditions like insomnia or sleep apnea may result in problems with memory and thinking.
- Take care of your mental health. Some studies link a history of depression with an increased risk of cognitive decline, so seek medical treatment if you have symptoms of depression, anxiety, or other mental health concerns. Also, try to manage stress.
- Buddy up. Staying socially engaged may support brain health. Pursue social activities that are meaningful to you. Find ways to be part of your local community – if you love animals, consider volunteering at a local shelter. If you enjoy singing, join a local choir or help at an after-school program. Or, just share activities with friends and family.
- Stump yourself. Challenge and activate your mind. Build a piece of furniture. Complete a jigsaw puzzle. Do something artistic. Play games, such as bridge, that make you think strategically. Challenging your mind may have short and long-term benefits for your brain.
Has your senior parent been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? If your senior parent’s behaviors appear different or strange – or if they’re experiencing memory loss and changes in mood – it may be time to review the 10 signs of Alzheimer’s disease and schedule an appointment with their doctor. The 10 early signs and symptoms of Alzheimer’s disease include:
- Memory loss that disrupts daily life. One of the most common signs of Alzheimer's is memory loss, especially forgetting recently learned information. Others include forgetting important dates or events, asking for the same information over and over, and increasingly needing to rely on memory aids (e.g., reminder notes or electronic devices) or family members for things that your senior parent used to handle on their own.
- Challenges in planning or solving problems. Your senior parent may experience changes in their ability to develop and follow a plan or work with numbers. They may have trouble following a familiar recipe or keeping track of monthly bills. They may have difficulty concentrating and take much longer to do things than they did before.
- Difficulty completing familiar tasks. Your senior parent may find it hard to complete daily tasks. Sometimes, they may have trouble driving to a familiar location, managing a budget at work, or remembering the rules of a favorite game.
- Confusion with time or place. Your senior parent may lose track of dates, seasons, and the passage of time. They may have trouble understanding something if it is not happening immediately. Sometimes they may forget where they are or how they got there.
- Trouble understanding visual images and spatial relationships. For some people, having vision problems is a sign of Alzheimer's. They may have difficulty reading, judging distance, and determining color or contrast, which may cause problems with driving.
- New problems with words in speaking or writing. Your senior parent may have trouble following or joining a conversation. They may stop in the middle of a conversation and have no idea how to continue, or they may repeat themselves. They may struggle with vocabulary, have problems finding the right word, or call things by the wrong name (e.g., calling a "watch" a "hand-clock").
- Misplacing things and losing the ability to retrace steps. Your senior parent may put things in unusual places. They may lose things and be unable to go back over their steps to find them again. Sometimes, they may accuse others of stealing. This may occur more frequently over time.
- Decreased or poor judgment. Your senior parent may experience changes in judgment or decision-making. For example, they may use poor judgment when dealing with money, giving large amounts to telemarketers. They may pay less attention to grooming or keeping themselves clean.
- Withdrawal from work or social activities. Your senior parent may start to remove themselves from hobbies, social activities, work projects, or sports. They may have trouble keeping up with a favorite sports team or remembering how to complete a favorite hobby. They may also avoid being social because of the changes they have experienced.
- Changes in mood and personality. The mood and personalities of people with Alzheimer's can change. They can become confused, suspicious, depressed, fearful, or anxious. They may be easily upset at home, at work, with friends, or in places where they are out of their comfort zone.
If your senior parent exhibits these signs and symptoms, schedule an appointment with their family care physician. Although there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease, an early diagnosis from their doctor will allow you and your family to prepare financially, investigate resources, and connect with an in-home care company such as SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills to ensure the proper care of your senior parent.
Caregiving for a senior parent struggling with Alzheimer’s disease is an intensive, stressful, expensive full-time job. Are you a caregiver for your senior parent living with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? Or, has your senior parent recently been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease or dementia? If so, call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, and Anaheim Hills. Our compassionate and skilled in-home caregivers provide top-notch respite services for your family. As your loved one’s progression worsens, their need for consistent, professional in-home care increases, and it often requires 24-hour care. SYNERGY’s in-home caregivers offer a wide variety of home care services to ensure that your senior parent is comfortable, healthy, and safe. Our in-home care services include the following:
- Personal assistance care: Bathing, showering, using the restroom, getting in and out of bed, wheelchairs, etc.
- Errands and transportation services: Driving to the doctor’s office or an appointment, picking up prescriptions, going grocery shopping, etc.
- Meal assistance: Complete and nutritious meal planning, preparing, and cleanup.
- Light housekeeping services: Assistance with laundry, ironing, changing linens, kitchen/bathroom cleaning, and organizing, etc.
- Companionship: Encouraging friendly and supportive conversation, active thinking (structuring pastimes, hobbies and games), light exercise, etc.
Call SYNERGY HomeCare Corona, Riverside, or Anaheim Hills and provide relief to your family and senior parent this year.
About SYNERGY HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside
Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is the name you can trust in Corona, Norco, Riverside, Chino, Chino Hills, Diamond Bar for personal home care. Synergy HomeCare of Corona/ Riverside is part of a national franchise of non-medical home care offices dedicated to providing exceptional and affordable service to anyone of any age. Synergy HomeCare caregivers are available 365 days a year, 24 hours a day, to those in need - including seniors, expectant moms, those suffering from sports injuries and debilitating illnesses, and more. Synergy HomeCare of Corona & Riverside can be found online at http://www.synergyhomecare.com/agencies/ca/corona/ca18/. The location also hosts active social media pages on Facebook and Twitter. Ken and Anna can be reached at 951-280-9808 and [email protected]