Through research we have learned that some forms of dementia may be the result of factors that we control: our diet, our activity level, the amount of sleep we get, how we manage stress, socialization, and other life situations. Other factors we control are: smoking; how much alcohol we consume; what we eat; our sleep habits; prescription and over-the-counter drug use, and engaging in risky behaviors (i.e.: contact sports, climbing ladders, etc.) At Sagora Senior Living we strive to support overall wellness including promoting good brain fitness. Below, you will find several simple life-style changes that may help decrease your chances of developing a form of dementia and keep you healthier longer.
The body needs sleep. Without sleep, your body cannot repair the damage from the day’s activities. Too little sleep will result in mood changes, poor judgment, and possible dangerous situations (using machinery, driving, etc.). Anyone over the age of 40 should have at least seven hours of sleep. This will ensure that you are better able to think both more clearly and calmly, and it will allow you to do your best. Routine is the key to better sleep.
We are all aware of the dangers of too much sugar, too much salt, high fat foods, processed foods, and so on. Scientists have found that too much sugar in the brain can actually speed up the aging process. To get healthy and stay healthy, a person must eat healthy for life. An easy way to remember is to “eat the rainbow” that is, every day, eat something red, something green, something orange, something yellow, and so on. The more colors and more variety you have, the better your health will be. Leafy greens, beans, legumes, fish, all kinds of berries,
and seeds can help round out a healthy diet and nourish your brain.
EXERCISE and ACTIVITY
On a continual basis, we are bombarded with TV and newspaper reports as to the “obesity epidemic” in this country. Just like with coronary diseases and other medical conditions, too much weight causes your body to work harder to deliver blood and nutrients to your brain. It is essential that exercise be a part of your daily routine. One of the most effective forms of exercise known involves only 20-30 minutes of your time daily: walking. There are many forms of exercise and maybe some exploration of what suits your lifestyle would be good. Join a chair exercise group, a Wii bowling team, get a walking partner and feel the physical benefits.
It is just as important to exercise your brain. “Use it or lose it” is more than just a phrase. Play some brain games today! Do a crossword puzzle. Challenge yourself with brain exercises and training programs. These can be challenging and fun. There are also game shows, strategy, word and card games that will amuse and entertain your brain!
How do you relax? This is a hard question for many folks. It seems like the tasks never end and the constant juggling of taking care of it all can eventually break even the strongest.
Can you have a once a month massage? Do you love to go shopping? Can you take a few days to travel and visit family? What about a social club at least once a month? Sometimes we just have to “listen” to our body. What is it telling us? Are you in pain? Are your emotions all over the place? Remember to stop and take care of your needs. We have to care for ourselves before we care for others. Just like on an airplane, we have to put on our oxygen mask first or we will not be available for anyone else!
For your mental, emotional, and psychological health, the more outside contacts you maintain, the better. Socializing helps prevent depression and keeps you mentally stimulated. Fraternal and social clubs (i.e.: Veterans and fraternal organizations, alumni groups, bowling leagues, church activities, etc.) are important ways for us to remain connected. Getting out with a friend, or having a “girls (or guys) day out”, is another way to allow you to enjoy life, interact with friends, and take a much needed break. Experts also say that seniors who enjoy an active social life often extend their lives by years. Loneliness can lead to other problems such as alcoholism, heart disease, or even cancer. Among the abundant benefits for socializing, here are a few: life extension; stress reduction, and a better feeling of self-esteem. Why not take advantage of the numerous lifestyle programs available at Sagora Senior Living and just see what a difference it will make for your well-being and overall happiness.