June is Alzheimer’s & Brain Awareness Month, which is an opportunity to take action and join the fight against this fatal disease and other dementias.
President Ronald Regan designated June as Alzheimer’s Awareness Month in 1983 – a time when there were less than 2 million people with the disease. Today, that number has grown to more than 5 million.
Dementia is not a normal part of aging, but age is the biggest risk factor. Dementia is a general term for a decline in mental ability severe enough to interfere with daily life.
Although most people associate dementia with memory loss, the condition affects people in a variety of ways. According to the Alzheimer’s Association, visual perception, reasoning and judgment and communication and language can also be impaired.
Risk factors, such as high blood pressure and lack of exercise, usually can be changed to help reduce risk. Scientific research in these areas may lead to new ways to detect those at highest risk.
Regular physical exercise may be a beneficial strategy to lower the risk of Alzheimer's and vascular dementia. Good exercise choices including walking briskly, dancing, swimming, cycling and even gardening.
According to the Alzheimer’s Association, evidence suggests exercise may directly benefit brain cells by increasing blood and oxygen flow to the brain.
A number of studies indicate that maintaining strong social connections and keeping mentally active as we age might lower the risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer's.
People can still live well with dementia, and there are ways to help with symptoms. Fun activities, laughter and being active help engage the brain and grow new brain cells, which ultimately helps prevent dementia.
Proper nutrition is also important to keep the body strong and healthy. For a person with dementia, poor nutrition may increase behavioral symptoms and cause weight loss.
Hearthstone Communities : 920 North Seminary Avenue, Woodstock, IL 60098 : 815.338.2110 : www.hearthstonewoodstock.org