Be proactive during World Alzheimer’s Month

Alzheimer’s disease is poised to be the biggest senior health issue facing the global community in the coming years. According to the World Health Organization, the number of people living with Alzheimer’s is expected to triple by 2050 to about 115 million. In an effort to raise awareness of the growing threat posed by the disease, September is recognized as World Alzheimer’s Month in communities around the globe. Seniors should use this time as a chance to take proactive steps against the disease, and there are a number of ways for them to do so.

Keep moving
For a large number of reasons, physical activity is an important part of healthy aging. It can help seniors prevent falls, improve heart health and even alleviate arthritis pain. But perhaps most significantly, it has shown to reduce the chances of developing Alzheimer’s disease and dementia. Experts say the benefits stem from the fact that aerobic exercise promotes improved blood flow to the brain, which encourages cell growth and improves brain function. Thirty minutes a day is often considered enough for seniors to reap the benefits, according to the Mayo Clinic.

Better sleep
Much like exercise, a good night’s rest is a crucial part of healthy living for people of all ages, and recent research seems to suggest the quality of one’s shut-eye could be an early indicator of Alzheimer’s disease. One study, conducted by scientists at the Washington University School in St. Louis and released earlier this year found that sleep loss may be one of the earliest symptoms of Alzheimer’s, even before issues with memory start to present themselves.

Eat the right food
A healthy diet has many well-known benefits, but one of the less publicized advantages of a nutritious meal is that it could protect against Alzheimer’s and dementia. There are a few foods in particular that can maintain brain health, but those high in omega-3 fatty acids are some of the best options. This includes choices such as salmon, walnuts and hazelnuts. Certain berries, which are high in polyphenols, are also good options.

“You can’t go wrong if a food has the word ‘berry’ in the name,” said Dr. Paul Nussbaum,. “Strawberries, blueberries, cranberries- they’re all good for your brain.”