One of the greatest fears associated with aging is developing Alzheimer’s disease or other cognitive problems that lead to dementia. A new Canadian app, created by the Women’s Brain Health Initiative (WBHI) may help people recognize and mitigate risk factors that increase the likelihood of developing dementia. The BrainFit app on iOS and Android was launched in December 2022 to help people learn about their risk factors and lifestyle habits that put them at an increased risk of brain-aging diseases. Women are statistically more susceptible to developing dementia than men, but the Brain Fit tool is designed for both men and women to combat cognitive problems in later life.
The Alzheimer’s Society of Canada cites high blood pressure, obesity, a sedentary lifestyle, depression and low levels of cognitive engagement as risk factors for developing dementia, particularly Alzheimer’s disease. While the symptoms of dementia tend to show up among adults over 70, researchers believe it’s likely that damage is done in mid-life and making lifestyle changes to improve brain health in the 40s and 50s will help protect the aging brain.
Brain Fit helps promote brain health by suggesting daily and weekly activities to help boost brain activity and encourage healthy habits that include good nutrition, regular exercise, mental stimulation, social activities, sleep, and stress management. Together, these lifestyle habits can delay or prevent dementia. Nearly 40 percent of all dementia cases could be prevented through these “six pillars of brain health”. The app may encourage you to drink more water, engage in brain games, learn a new language, or go bowling with friends.
Starting early to take steps that protect brain health will not only support a more active and independent older age, but younger adults can also reap the benefits of improved physical fitness, better mental health, and a reduction in the incidence of chronic health conditions. The app also provides access to articles, videos and podcasts that help support the six pillars of brain health. Download the BrainFit Habit Tracker through the App Store or Google Play.