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Tips to Combating Forgetfulness with Alzheimer’s

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Alzheimer’s disease is a progressive disorder of the brain that slowly destroys thinking skills and memory. At its most advanced stages, it can even destroy one’s ability to carry out simple daily tasks. Unfortunately, this disease is common. In fact, it is the leading cause of dementia in seniors. Alzheimer’s affects an estimated 5.5 million Americans and is ranked as the sixth leading cause of death in the United States.

There is no cure for Alzheimer’s, and the damage it causes to the brain is irreversible. There are, however, several things you can do to help combat forgetfulness if you or a loved one is in the early stages of the disease. In some cases, patients are even able to slow down the disease’s progression. Here are a few tips to combating forgetfulness with Alzheimer’s.

Stay Mentally Active

Just like you need to stay physically active to keep your body healthy and in shape, you need to stay mentally active to help keep your brain in shape. Staying mentally active may help stave off memory loss. There are plenty of ways to help yourself or a loved one stay mentally active. Read books frequently. Do crossword or Sudoku puzzles. Learn to play a musical instrument. Take different routes when traveling. Change up your daily routine.

Being creative is a great way of keeping your brain active. Whether you decide to take up painting or drawing or you would prefer a craft like using stones to create wire wrapped jewelry for friends and loved ones, working on arts and crafts helps keep your mind sharp.

Get Organized

It is easy to lose track of things and be forgetful if you live in a disorganized, chaotic space. Improving your organization skills is a great way to combat forgetfulness. Use a planner, notebook or calendar to keep track of appointments, tasks and other events. As you jot them down, say them out loud to help cement them in your memory. Keep a to-do list and update it regularly as you complete tasks.

Establish a place for essential items like your wallet and keys, and always put those items in their designated place. This will go a long way toward helping you avoid forgetting where you put important items. If you need to tuck something away for a later date–like a birthday gift–jot down its location in your planner or notebook. Remembering where you put things is tough even if you don’t have Alzheimer’s. Jotting down notes will help you keep track and avoid the frustration that comes from forgetting where something is.

Socialize Regularly

For many seniors, feelings of isolation and loneliness are huge problems. They often end up spending a lot of time alone, which can lead to feelings of stress and depression–both of which can contribute to memory loss. To avoid this, seek out opportunities to connect with friends and loved ones. This is especially important if you live alone.

Making new friends can be difficult, but there are always opportunities to get out and meet new people. If you are having trouble finding people to socialize with, consider visiting your local senior center or signing up to volunteer for a local organization. Your area may also have a bridge club or another club or organization that’s suited to your interests. Finding ways to socialize with people will help keep depression at bay while ensuring that you remain mentally active.

Consume a Healthy Diet

Consuming a healthy diet isn’t just important for protecting your physical health. Doing so also helps preserve your mental health. Your diet should be rich with things like fresh fruits and vegetables, whole grains and low-fat protein sources. Emerging research indicates that there may be a link between blood sugar and dementia, so it’s best to minimize your consumption of things like refined carbohydrates, dairy and sugar. Consume healthy fats like omega 3 fatty acids found in wild fatty fish, like salmon, as they are good for brain health.

Be mindful of what you drink, too. Consuming alcohol in excess can, of course, worsen memory loss and confusion.

Get Plenty of Exercise

Physical activity helps increase blood flow throughout your entire body–including your brain. Therefore, getting plenty of exercise can help you combat memory loss. The Department of Health and Human Services recommends no less than 150 minutes of moderate aerobic exercise or 75 minutes of vigorous aerobic exercise per week for most healthy adults. Ideally, these workouts should be spread throughout the week. Before you get started on any exercise plan, though, be sure to talk to your doctor to determine how much and what type of exercise is right for you.

Take Care of Your Chronic Conditions

As we age, we become more likely to develop chronic conditions like high blood pressure, diabetes, high cholesterol, thyroid problems, etc. If you suffer from any chronic physical or mental health problems, follow your doctor’s treatment recommendations to take care of them. Taking steps to take care of yourself can have an impact on how good your memory is. Also, be sure to review all your medications with your primary care provider regularly. Certain medications can affect memory and should not be taken by people with Alzheimer’s.

Conclusion

Alzheimer’s is a devastating disease that affects millions of Americans. While it cannot be cured or reversed, there are things you can do during the early stages of the disease to help combat forgetfulness. Staying mentally and physically active are two of the best things you can do for yourself when trying to slow down the disease’s progression. You can also help yourself deal with forgetfulness by being more organized and jotting down notes you can refer to later.

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