Group of laughing seniors in a coffeehouse

August was an exciting month in terms of releasing new information on fighting Alzheimer’s disease.  ABC news reported on a “new class of medication called gamma-secretase modulators.” This medicine focuses on altering beta amyloid plaque that produces Alzheimer’s symptoms. Clinical trials are underway and offering very positive results.

The August 22, 2016 issue of Time Magazine did a wonderful article called “Untangling Alzheimer’s” The article offered new insights on simple lifestyle changes that can be done by everyone. Research evidence indicates that these “natural interventions appear to have powerful affects on areas of the brain that are vulnerable to aging.”

I wanted to share these tips with you for a couple of reasons. Some of them can be used with your aging loved ones as a means to connect with them and trying to reduce brain function deterioration. These tips are also important for you as a a caregiver to implement. These are things we can all do that do not involve intensive medical intervention or medication treatment. It encourages you to put a healthy lifestyle in place as soon as possible. Here are the recommended lifestyle changes to focus on:


  1. “Shore up Your Heart” – Researchers have found that taking care of your heart is a critical

component of protecting your brain. Healthy eating, paying close attention to your weight,

and regularly monitoring things like your blood pressure and cholesterol levels goes a long

way to preventing heart disease.


  1. “Emphasize Exercise” – Engaging in exercise on a regular basis keeps your heart pumping

and your blood flowing. These researchers encourage participation in aerobic exercise

reporting it can “grow the volume of certain brain regions that tend to shrink during

aging.” Aerobic exercise can mean walking, running, swimming, biking. Anything that

improves cardiovascular disease.


  1. “Learn New Things” – The article emphasizes the importance of participating in activities

that challenge your intellect and involve using different parts of your brain. They can

be very simple things like reading or doing crossword puzzles. Lately I have been using a

coloring book and doing jigsaw puzzles to relax and keep my mind sharper. I find it very



  1. “Be social” – Socializing is an important component of brain health. Spending time with

people and engaging in conversation is surprisingly helpful. If you are physically limited and

transportation is challenging maybe you can arrange for friends, neighbors, or family to

come and spend time with you. Discussing current events, politics, movies, books,and

other life passions can be fun, entertaining, and keep your mind active.


  1. “Treat Depression” – The Time article points out that “depression is most prevalent in middle age.” Researchers have noted that it is “linked to twice the risk of cognitive decline.” People that are middle aged tend to be the largest group of caregivers. The challenges of caregiving can create additional stress or depression. It is important to be self aware in terms of your emotional state in your role as caregiver.


  1. “Sleep Well”- The website Statistic Brain reports 40 million people in the U.S. have some

type of sleeping problem. We all know that lack of sleep can make us more short tempered.

It also makes it harder to concentrate and focus. The researchers report that in addition poor

sleep can result in “risk of cognitive decline and Alzheimer’s.”


   There are many things I liked about this list of lifestyle tips. These tips can be done by people

of all ages. If you are a caregiver, you can encourage the person you are caring for to

engage in these tips if appropriate.. Many caregivers make the mistake of not focusing on

their own mental and physical health because they get caught up with the demands of their

lives in conjunction with their caregiving responsibilities. Try to use this list of tips as a

primer to help maintain your brain health.



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