As a family caregiver to an older adult, one of the things you may worry about is them developing a form of dementia, like Alzheimer’s disease. It’s a hard condition to watch someone suffer from and just as hard to provide care for.
Researchers have been hard at work trying to learn more about the disease and how to cure it. As of today, there’s no cure for Alzheimer’s. However, scientists have presented some strong evidence for ways that it might be prevented. Though there is never a guarantee that an older adult will not get the disease, 4 of the things experts suggest may lessen their chances are listed below.
#1: Follow the MIND Diet
The Mayo Clinic recommends following the MIND diet. MIND stands for Mediterranean-DASH Intervention for Neurodegenerative Delay. Studies show that following the diet can reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s by as much as 53 percent. Caregivers can help older adults to follow the diet by using these guidelines presented on the Mayo Clinic website:
- At least three servings of whole grains a day
- Green leafy vegetables (such as salad) at least six times a week
- Other vegetables at least once a day
- Berries at least twice a week
- Red meat less than four times a week
- Fish at least once a week
- Poultry at least twice a week
- Beans more than three times a week
- Nuts at least five times a week
- Fried or fast food less than once a week
- Mainly olive oil for cooking
- Less than a tablespoon of butter or margarine a day
- Less than a serving of cheese a week
- Less than five pastries or sweets a week
- One glass of wine or other alcoholic drink a day
#2: Exercise Regularly
Regular exercise cuts the chances of getting Alzheimer’s in half. Older adults should aim for 2.5 hours of moderately intense exercise per week. They don’t need to do all 2.5 hours at once. Even 10-minute increments count toward the total goal.
#3: Maintain Social Connections
Studies show that staying connected with other people is an important part of keeping Alzheimer’s away. Older adults should continue to spend time with family, friends, and other people. Some ways they can do this are by volunteering, joining a club, or having a weekly luncheon with friends. Caregivers can encourage social connections by making sure the older adult has rides to places where they can be around other people, including their place of worship or the local senior center for a club meeting.
#4: Keep Using the Mind
Mental activity helps to keep connections in the brain strong and may stave off cognitive decline. Encourage your older family member to do things like read, do crossword puzzles, play games, take a class, or play a musical instrument.
If you or a loved one are considering Caregiver Services in Penn Hills PA, please call and talk to the caring staff at Extended Family Care of Pittsburgh at (412) 693-6009. We will answer all of your questions.
Laura has earned her MBA in Health Care Administration from Canisius College and a Bachelor of Science degree from the State University of New York at Buffalo. Laura has sat on three Professional Advisory Committees throughout the community, has been on the Board of Directors for a non-profit nursing home, and currently acts as an Advisory Board Member for both the Alliance for Community Respite Care and Gateway Health Plan.She is also an active committee member of the Southwestern PA Partnership on Aging, Twilight Wish Foundation and North Allegheny baseball, softball and lacrosse Boosters.Community Engagement and Education has been her passion and she enjoys teaching opportunities for the American Red Cross and a local community college as well as collaborative grant writing with various healthcare and education partners.
Raising four active children with her husband Brian, she seems to spend more free time on fields and courts than she does at home. Although they live in Pittsburgh, you will never see a Steelers logo in their home.Instead, the Bills, Sabres and some Pirates gear are more often visible. “My empathy is always for the underdog.They usually work harder than everyone else.”. –Laura Partridge
Success is no accident. It is hard work, perseverance, learning, studying, sacrifice and most of all, love of what you are doing or learning to do.” – Pele