Just as with other facets of our health, lifestyle choices have an impact on our brains. As we celebrate aging and the valuable contributions older adults make to our communities during Older Americans Month, it’s also a great time to remind older adults about proactive steps they can, and should, take to protect their brain health.
The Alzheimer’s Foundation of America (AFA) is offering four ways to help older adults be proactive about their brain health.
Get a memory screening
Memory impairments are not a normal part of aging; they can be caused by a number of different conditions, which is why early detection of memory impairments is essential. Memory screenings are quick, noninvasive screenings that should be part of everyone’s health and wellness routine. Preventative screening is for those not currently experiencing memory issues. AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday, with no minimum age or insurance prerequisites—visit www.alzfdn.org or call AFA at 866-232-8484 to learn more about getting a free virtual memory screening.
Try something new
Learning new things helps exercise and strengthen your brain. Force your brain to think outside of its normal routine provides valuable cognitive stimulation. Whether it’s taking a class, trying a new activity, or something else that you’ve never experienced before.
Socialize and connect
Social interaction and maintaining an active social life are very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation, and mood. Prolonged social isolation and loneliness are detrimental to your health and can actually increase the risk for a number of different health conditions, including dementia-related illnesses, heart disease, and stroke, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Spending time with loved ones and friends, participating in group activities, and getting involved in local community groups are all ways to connect with other people. Keep your brain active, and being more engaged with the world around you will maintain your brain health.
Be physically active
and exercise increase blood flow to the brain and can also help improve mood and overall well-being. It can also reduce stress, improve sleep quality, and decrease cardiovascular risk factors, all of which benefit brain health. Whether it’s brisk walking, jogging, aerobics, weight training, swimming, or playing sports, make it a point to be active!
Individuals who would like to learn more about healthy aging, brain health, or memory screenings can contact the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America’s Helpline by phone (866-232-8484), web chat (www.alzfdn.org).
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