According to the Alzheimer’s Association, approximately 5.7 million adults in the United States were reported as having Alzheimer’s disease in 2018. Researchers continue gaining knowledge about the disease process. As of yet, there’s no cure and no way to prevent Alzheimer’s, but several risk factors encourage the development of the disease. By reducing their risk, older adults may keep Alzheimer’s at bay or slow its progression.
Follow the Mediterranean Diet
A group of scientists from Columbia University reported discovering a connection between the Mediterranean diet and a reduced risk of Alzheimer’s. People living in the Mediterranean region live well into their 90s and beyond without experiencing cognitive impairment. The Mediterranean diet consists mainly of fresh fruits and vegetables, poultry, and fish. Olive oil is the only fat used in meal preparation. Baked goods and pasta are typically homemade and consumed sparingly. By avoiding high-fat, high-salt, and high-sugar foods, seniors reduce inflammation and the possible development of fatty plaques that inhibit blood flow in the brain and throughout the body.
It’s crucial to help your loved one follow a nutrient-rich diet and avoid harmful foods that increase the risk of Alzheimer’s. However, you may not have the time or expertise to ensure he or she makes healthy lifestyle choices. Caring for senior loved ones can be challenging for families who don’t have expertise or professional training in home care, but this challenge doesn’t have to be faced alone. Family caregivers can turn to Home Care Assistance for the help they need. We provide high-quality live-in and respite care as well as comprehensive Alzheimer’s, dementia, stroke, and Parkinson’s care.
Consume Tryptophan-Rich Foods
An article published in the April 2000 issue of The American Journal of Psychiatry explained how researchers believe there’s a connection between low tryptophan levels and cognitive impairment. Tryptophan is an amino acid that’s necessary for the production of niacin, a B vitamin known to protect neurons and other nerve tissue in addition to encouraging serotonin production. Foods rich in tryptophan include:
- Dairy products
- Dark chocolate
- Red meat
In 2010, researchers published an article in the Journal of Alzheimer’s Disease explaining that routine physical activity interferes with the progression of Alzheimer’s disease. Exercise protects the brain from cell damage by free radicals that cause oxidative stress. Working out is also known to enhance the cardiovascular system, which increases blood circulation.
Seniors may need support when they start exercising at home. If you have a senior loved one who needs help maintaining a high quality of life while aging in place, reach out to Home Care Assistance, a leading provider of homecare services Tucson families can rely on. All of our caregivers are bonded, licensed, and insured, there are no hidden fees, and we never ask our clients to sign long-term contracts.
Get Sufficient Sleep
Older adults need seven to nine hours of sleep each night for their bodies to relax and make necessary repairs. Scientists from the National Institute on Alcohol Abuse and Alcoholism found that people who lacked sufficient sleep had increased levels of beta-amyloid proteins, which are known to be a contributing factor in Alzheimer’s development. The study revealed that even one night of insufficient sleep caused levels of beta-amyloid proteins to rise by five percent.
Carrying excess weight puts added stress on the cardiovascular system and may lead to diabetes. Researchers from the Perelman School of Medicine at the University of Pennsylvania reported in 2013 that their studies revealed connections among being overweight, higher levels of the hormone leptin, and an increased risk of Alzheimer’s.
Engage in Mental Exercise
Scientists from the University of Pittsburgh report that regularly engaging in mentally stimulating activities reduces the risk of Alzheimer’s and other types of dementia. Daily activities might include putting together jigsaw puzzles, solving word puzzles, reading, or learning something new.
Alzheimer’s disease is just one of the many issues that can affect seniors who want to live independently. Aging in place can present a few unique challenges for older adults. Some only require part-time assistance with exercise or meal preparation, while others are living with serious illnesses and benefit more significantly from receiving live-in care. Tucson, AZ, Home Care Assistance are leaders in the elderly in-home care industry for good reason. We tailor our care plans based on each senior’s individual needs, our caregivers continue to receive updated training in senior care as new developments arise, and we also offer comprehensive care for seniors with Alzheimer’s, dementia, and Parkinson’s. Call one of our Care Managers at (520) 276-6555 to learn about our customized in-home care plans.