A recent Alzheimer’s Foundation Survey found that although most adults are aware of the benefits diet, exercise and brain games can have on memory and cognition, only about half of those surveyed actually participate in these activities.
The study also revealed that adults are somewhat worried about their risk of developing dementia or Alzheimer’s disease, but were much more concerned about other health issues including cancer, cardiovascular disease and hypertension.
Age is the greatest risk factor for developing Alzheimer’s disease with one in nine people over the age of 65 and one in three over 85 diagnosed with AD. Other risk factors include family history, head trauma and heart heath.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA), is stressing the importance of memory screening programs to help promote early detection and proper intervention to help seniors age better. Memory screening can detect cognitive problems long before a diagnosis of AD is possible. Besides dementia and AD, common causes of memory problems in older adults include depression, vitamin deficiency or thyroid disease.
By keeping active both physically and mentally, studies have shown older adults can help ward off cognitive decline. Learning a new skill, joining a book club, taking a class, gardening, making music, playing brain games or doing a daily crossword puzzle are activities that promote brain health.
To learn more about the benefits of the five pillars of brain health: moving, discovering, relaxing, nourishing and connecting, visit StayingSharp, an an online brain health community sponsored by the AARP (American Association of Retired Persons) at https://stayingsharp.aarp.org/ . The site provides individuals with a free Brain Health Assessment, access to brain games, research information, recipes and activities.