Dementia is an illness that affects the brain and leads to a decline in the brain's ability to function properly, affecting memory, judgement, language, planning and behaviour. However, studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing some types of dementia.
Dementia is an illness more common among older adults especially those above 65 years old.
There are various types of dementia, of which the two most common types are Alzheimer's Disease and Vascular Dementia. What causes Alzheimer's Disease remains a mystery although genes are thought to play a role. Vascular Dementia is caused by small strokes that affect blood circulation to the brain.
Presently, there is no cure for dementia. However, studies have shown that a healthy lifestyle can reduce the risk of developing some types of dementia.
Use My Healthy Plate as a guide, fill half of your plate with fruit and vegetables, a quarter with wholegrains and a quarter with protein-rich food such as meat, fish, and tofu. Reducing salt and sugar intake helps prevent chronic illnesses such as high blood pressure.
Staying fit and spending quality time with family and friends can benefit your health and wellbeing. Keeping your mind and body active is one way to reduce your risk of dementia.
Engage in at least 300 minutes of moderate physical activity a week. Choose activities that are suitable for your age and physical condition and start at a comfortable level.
Play more. Stimulate your mind by reading. Visit the library to borrow books and magazines. Keep your mind busy by playing a game of cards, board games or Sudoku during your spare time.
Learn a new skill. If you have never played a musical instrument before, it's time you start playing. You could also learn new dance steps or a foreign language during weekends. The People's Association has various interest groups such as line dancing or badminton that you can take part in. Visit www.pa.gov.sg for more information.
Be adventurous. Are you tired of preparing the same meals again and again? Try a new recipe and share cooking secrets with your friends. Visiting a newly opened food courts and eateries with family and friends can be enjoyable too.
Build and nurture relationships. It's never too late to start building genuine friendships. Be friendly by smiling and saying "Hello" to people you meet in the neighbourhood. Join tai chi sessions during weekends. Play with your grandchildren and spend time teaching them what you love to do. It may be an afternoon of painting and cooking or simply chatting over a cup of tea.
Manage chronic diseases such as diabetes and high blood pressure and go for regular health checkups.
A strong and healthy heart provides adequate blood flow to your brain. This keeps the brain well-nourished and healthy.
Keep your blood pressure, blood sugar and cholesterol levels within the acceptable range. If you are taking medications, do it dutifully and seek early treatment to avoid any complications that may result from these conditions.
Keep your ideal weight. Maintaining a normal Body Mass Index (BMI) can help control blood pressure and cholesterol levels.
Quit smoking. Smoking is associated with heart disease and may increase the risk of dementia.
This article was last reviewed on
Wednesday, January 25, 2023
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