Many of the factors that contribute to developing dementia are controllable. While genetics does play a role in who gets certain types of dementia, you can help your loved one manage his or her health to reduce the risk. These six tips can help your aging loved one stave off dementia so you can look forward to many more happy years together.
1. Learn How to Recognize the Earliest Symptoms
Dementia cases that are caught early have the best prognosis. In many instances, you can stop the disease from progressing in the early stages. However, the earliest warning signs are often so subtle that most people pass them off as “senior moments.” Look for patterns in the changes that occur in your loved one’s behavior and abilities. For instance, consistently mixing up words is a sign he or she needs to talk to the doctor.
2. Provide Motivation for Ending Unhealthy Habits
Smokers and people who consume more than the recommended amounts of alcohol are at greater risk for developing dementia. Help your loved one start a smoking cessation program, and suggest swapping out alcoholic beverages for healthier alternatives. If your loved one cannot adjust to these changes, seek out a support group or treatment program designed for seniors.
3. Make Sure Your Loved One Gets Regular Physical Exams
Your loved one’s annual physicals should include screenings to identify conditions such as high blood pressure or high cholesterol. While these screenings provide important information about how to boost your loved one’s health, they also provide insight into your loved one’s risk for getting dementia. Seniors who have cardiovascular disease, diabetes, or respiratory disease have an increased risk of developing dementia. Getting these conditions under control greatly reduces the risk.
Seniors with mobility limitations or health conditions may find it difficult to manage their health on their own. If your senior loved one has been diagnosed with a serious condition and needs help with tasks like meal prep, transportation, bathing, and grooming, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of senior home care Austin, TX, families can trust. We also offer comprehensive care for seniors with dementia, Alzheimer’s, and Parkinson’s.
4. Plan Brain-Boosting Activities
The senior years normally involve some memory loss. However, you can have fun with your loved one and help him or her retain cognitive abilities at the same time. Find games you can play together that rely on critical thinking skills. Your loved one will enjoy spending the time with you, and you’ll be boosting his or her brain health.
Professional caregivers with training and expertise in methods of cognitive stimulation can be a wonderful asset for seniors. Not every senior has the same care needs, which means they don’t all need the same type of in-home care. Austin families can rely on Home Care Assistance to provide individualized care plans to meet your elderly loved one’s unique care needs. Our holistic Balanced Care Method was designed to help seniors focus on healthy lifestyle habits such as eating nutritious foods, exercising regularly, and maintaining strong social ties, and our Cognitive Therapeutics Method offers mentally stimulating activities that can stave off cognitive decline and delay the onset of dementia.
5. Reduce the Impact of Stress
The body releases hormones such as cortisol in response to stress. In addition to causing emotional distress, these hormones are responsible for generating inflammation that also affects the brain. Encourage your loved one to include stress-reducing activities in the daily routine to lower the impact of these hormonal fluctuations.
6. Encourage Socialization
Social activities provide a wealth of benefits for staving off dementia, and your loved one should have a variety of different social interactions included in his or her schedule every week. For instance, taking a class strengthens the ability to retain new information, and sharing a conversation over lunch boosts oral language abilities.
Dementia can be challenging for seniors to manage, but they can maintain a higher quality of life with the help of professional dementia care. Austin seniors can benefit greatly from the Cognitive Therapeutics Method (CTM), an activities-based program designed to promote cognitive health and delay the onset of dementia. CTM is included at no additional charge with any of the in-home care plans provided by Home Care Assistance. For compassionate, reliable in-home care, trust the experienced professionals from Home Care Assistance. Call one of our friendly Care Managers today at (512) 623-7800 to learn more about our customized care plans.