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Lifestyle Keys to Reduce the Risk of Dementia and Cognitive Decline

Group Of Mature Men And Women In Class At Outdoor Yoga Retreat

Lifestyle choices slow the rate of cognitive decline and reduce the likelihood of developing dementia.  The more positive lifestyle choices you make, the lower the risk for developing dementia and experiencing cognitive decline in general.  In a study that included 29,000 adults over the age of 60, memory function was evaluated over a period of 10 years.  People were categorized into groups based on their lifestyle choices.

The lifestyle factors included a healthy diet, regular exercise, social interaction, cognitive activity, not smoking, and not drinking alcohol.  Participants were given a point for each positive activity.  Each person then had a score from zero to six.  The people were put into lifestyle groups of favorable (4-6 healthy lifestyles), average (2-3 healthy lifestyles), and poor (0-1 healthy lifestyles).

People in the healthiest group (4-6 healthy lifestyles) were 90% less likely to develop dementia or mild cognitive impairment compared to the least healthy group.  And people in the average group (2-3 healthy lifestyles) were 30% less likely.

The lifestyle choice that had the greatest effect on slowing cognitive decline was a healthy diet, followed by cognitive activity, and physical exercise.

A healthy diet was determined to be eating the recommended daily intake of fish, meat, dairy, fruits, vegetables, eggs, oil, nuts, legumes, and salt.  Cognitive activity consisted of pretty normal activities like reading and playing cards.  Physical exercise was determined to be at least 150 minutes of moderate physical activity or 75 minutes of strenuous physical activity each week.

In the study, participants were also checked for the APOE gene, the strongest gene predictor for developing Alzheimer’s.  Those with the APOE gene who made a significant number of healthy lifestyle choices were much less likely to develop Alzheimer’s than those who made unhealthy choices.

At SYNERGY HomeCare, our caregivers are trained in memory care and assisting adults with everyday activities.  Caregivers are able to prepare healthy meals, provide companionship, and assist with exercise.  Caregivers help enhance quality of life.