It is that time of year again – the time many of us set New Year’s resolutions. While there are endless goals you could set for yourself and numerous reasons behind them, some of the common resolutions that come up each year can also help reduce your risk of dementia.
Even though there are risk factors that you cannot change, such as increasing age, family history, and genetics, the lifestyle changes set in your New Year’s resolutions can help lower your risk.
Our team at Franklin Park® Senior Living provides memory care and other senior living services to individuals and families throughout San Antonio, Texas. We’re sharing some resolutions you may want to add to your list this year.
Stimulate Your Mind
We have all heard, and perhaps even made, a New Year’s resolution to be more active, but this likely was in reference to the physical aspect of our health. However, it is also important to keep your mind active, especially when it comes to reducing your risk of dementia.
According to the Alzheimer’s Society, “engaging in mental or social activities may help to build up your brain’s ability to cope with disease, relieve stress, and improve your mood. This means doing these activities may help to delay, or even prevent, dementia from developing.”
Types of activities that keep your mind active and stimulated include:
- Learning something new
- Arts and crafts
- Brainteasers – jigsaw puzzles, crosswords, sudoku, etc.
- Card games, chess, or board games
- Socializing with friends and family
Get More Exercise
It is no secret that health and wellness are among the top New Year’s resolutions that people make for themselves. According to Statista’s global survey last year, almost half of the survey participants said they wanted to exercise more.
Whether this commitment to exercise is to lose weight or feel better about yourself, the fact remains that staying physically active and getting more exercise can also help reduce your risk of dementia.
According to the NHS website:
“a lack of regular physical activity can increase your risk of heart disease, becoming overweight or obese, and type 2 diabetes, which are all linked to a higher risk of dementia. Older adults who do not exercise are also more likely to have problems with memory or thinking (known as cognitive ability).”
The key to making this resolution stick is finding a form of exercise you enjoy. Try doing a variety of activities that include aerobic and resistance training exercises. However, it is important to note that you should consult your doctor before making significant changes to your exercise routine.
Maintain a Healthy Diet
Not surprisingly, eating healthier was also one of the top choices for New Year’s resolutions on Statista’s global survey. Fortunately, maintaining a healthy diet is another way to help prevent or delay the onset of dementia.
The Alzheimer’s Society states, “eating a healthy, balanced diet may reduce your risk of dementia, as well as other conditions including cancer, type 2 diabetes, obesity, stroke, and heart disease.”
However, not one single food group or ingredient has the power to prevent dementia on its own. It is all about consistency and balance. For instance, aim to eat more whole grains, fruits, leafy green vegetables, oily fish, vegetable and plant oils, etc. Additionally, limit items such as sugar, processed foods, salt, and solid fats.
It is recommended, though, to talk to your doctor or a dietician before making any significant changes to your diet.
You may have already had a couple of these New Year’s resolutions on your list this year, but now you have even more motivation to stick with them! As your uncontrollable risk factors become more prominent, it is important to do what you can to make lifestyle changes that manage the risk factors within your control.
While there is currently no cure for dementia, there are ways to delay the progression of the condition. If you would like to learn more about Franklin Park® Senior Living’s memory care communities in San Antonio, Texas, provide, we invite you to visit our website or contact our team.