18-24 May is Dementia Awareness Week and even though it may not affect you right now, chances are you or a loved one will have some form of dementia at some point in your lifetime.
As the NHS Choices page explains, dementia is not a single illness but a group of symptoms caused by damage to the brain. The most common form of dementia is Alzheimer’s.
Though most common in the over 65’s the effects of dementia can be prevented or slowed down from before this age. Here are just a few hints and tips on how to keep your mind in tip top condition.
- Exercise Aerobic exercise gets oxygenated blood to the brain which is vital in keeping those cogs turning.
- Health A healthy body means a healthy mind so that regular exercise we just spoke of above will help towards maintaining a healthy weight, as will eating healthily, cutting back on alcohol and quitting smoking. All of these vices can contribute to weight and blood pressure problems which in turn can trigger dementia.
- Keep your brain active The brain is like a muscle in that if you don’t use it you will lose it. Get in the habit from now of reading regularly, grab a pen and complete the puzzle page in your copy of The Nubian Times or learn a new skill.
- Socialise Dementia prevention isn’t all about cutting out things you like and giving your brain a workout. It can still be fun by socialising. Not via Facebook and Twitter but by actually going outside and meeting up with friends in person. Having a sing-a-long will make you feel happy and confident.
- Have a pet Pets make you happy and provide companionship therefore combating some of the most of the symptoms of dementia- depression, apathy, loneliness- in one fell swoop.
Do you or someone you know find it hard to follow conversations or a TV programme? Have you become forgetful? Do you feel anxious, depressed or confused even when in a familiar environment? If any of these apply to someone you know, contact a GP today.
TNT Health Siobhan White