By Raymond Prats
COGNITIVE training – including puzzles and handicrafts – is known to help slow down the progress, of dementia among the elderly.
But now a new study actually shows that it is also able to improve reasoning, memory, language and hand-to-eye coordination.
This is particularly important when you consider it is estimated that by 2050 the number of over 65s will have increased to 1.1 billion, with 37 million suffering from dementia.
Here are some tips to ward it off:
- Take care of your heart: Everything that’s good for the heart is good for the brain as well
- Don’t smoke: It’s a risk factor for heart disease and strokes, and some research suggests it increases the risk of Alzheimer’s
- Stimulate your mind: It’s important for the mind to be active and for people to take part in activities that involve learning
- Choose activities that match your interests, such as doing crossword puzzles or learning to play the piano
- Schedule time for these things, just as you would designate a time to work out. But don’t stress out about it. There is a wealth of data that shows stress is bad for the brain
- Take steps to avoid high blood pressure and diabetes. And if you have either, manage them properly
- Watch your weight. Studies suggest keeping your weight in check for possible brain-health benefits and to reduce the risk of hypertension and diabetes
- Exercise. It’s important for people to be physically active throughout life, beginning in childhood
- Avoid excessive use of alcohol or other dangerous drugs. Excessive alcohol use is a risk factor for damage to the brain and seizures. Also, alcohol abuse may put you at risk of a stroke
- Know your family health history. More than 50 per cent of the risk of getting Alzheimer’s is inherited
- Report problems. Stay alert to memory changes. They might be difficult to recognise because of their gradual, insidious nature. But if you suspect a problem, get evaluated by a physician who’s knowledgeable and experienced in the subject as soon as possible.
For more information visit www.simplecarehealthplan.com
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