At the Rush Alzheimer’s Disease Centre in Chicago there has been a study of dementia that has lasted 25 years and which has involved 3,200 older adults. The results of these studies have shown that to some extent genetics play a part in dementia and some people have higher risk genes. However, the study also identified many key lifestyle factors that shape our brain’s health into old age. The good news is that these are all things you can do now and it's just like using your brain as a bank - the more you put in now, the more protected you will be from dementia later in life.
Diagnoses of Alzheimer's are set to triple by 2050 but simple things that are within your control can help to protect your brain and hold off the effects of any damage.
Neurologists have found that people in the bottom 10% of physical activity and those who mostly stay at home are more than twice as likely to get diagnosed with Alzheimer's. The good news is that physical activity includes things like cooking, shopping and playing cards and getting out of the house includes going to the other side of town!
The best things that you can do to help are:
- Engage in regular cognitive and physical activity - learn a language or an instrument, join a book club, exercise - even if just a little
- Strengthen and maintain social ties, not just on-line and on Facebook - get out and meet your friends and make new connections!
- Get out and explore new things - increase your life-space, leave your bedroom, your house, your town and expand your physical space
- Chillax and be happy - don't worry about things you can't change and remember to notice the positives as well as negatives in life
- Avoid people who are downers, especially close family members!
- Be conscientious and diligent - this involves organisation, self-discipline, your drive to achieve goals
- Spend time engaged in activities that are meaningful and goal-directed - have a purpose in life with clear intentions and goals
- Eat a healthy brain diet, with fresh fruit, vegetables and fish.
Hypnotherapy can't help improve your genes, but it is excellent at increasing motivation to:
- engage in physical activity
- eat healthily
- overcome social anxiety
- stretch yourself to reach new or existing goals
Changing these things now encourages better physical and mental health and you are most likely reducing your risk of Alzheimer's disease in the future, too.