June is Alzheimer's and Brain Awareness Month. During this month, we’d like to talk about the importance of brain health, and how to keep sharp even as you enter your golden years. While there is no cure for Alzheimer’s disease or many of the other conditions that often occur late in life, there are ways you can help a loved one stay healthy for as long as possible.
At Homewatch CareGivers of Loudoun, we have learned that a person’s health is one of the most priceless treasures that they can have. Here are three tips we’ve put together that you can use to help keep your loved one’s brain sharp.
1. Engage your brain
One of the easiest ways to help keep the brain sharp is to use it. Crossword puzzles are one example of a simple way our caregivers use to not only efficiently pass the time, but also allow the individual to enjoy themself and stay sharp at the same time. If puzzles aren’t your loved one’s thing, don’t worry, any time they learn something new or challenge their memory, they’re doing their brain a favor.
Creative activities such as writing or art, or learning a new language can all help keep their memory in good shape.
2. Adopt a healthy lifestyle
Experts suggest that gentle exercise and good diet can also benefit the brain. Exercise increases blood flow to all areas of the body, including our brain. Research conducted by UCLA even showed that exercise can benefit brain health in several different ways.
According to Harvard Health, good diet can also help keep our brain healthy. Harvard Health recommends green leafy vegetables, fatty fish, and berries for brain health. Caregivers can assist with grocery shopping and meal preparation to maintain a doctor-recommended diet.
Ensuring adequate and appropriate exercise, as well as balanced nutrition are all ways we help keep our clients active and healthy.
3. Get regular health checks
According to medical experts, the earlier you can catch a disease, especially a chronic one, the better the chances you’ll have to treat it. Regular health checks can help identify problems before they become big ones. Experts suggest this should include a memory screening to spot problems with brain health before other problems lead you to bring it up.
What to do if you’re diagnosed with Alzheimer’s
If you or a loved one has been diagnosed with Alzheimer’s disease, it can be a big shock. Most people never expect Alzheimer’s to happen to them.
The best thing you can do for yourself during this time is to be kind to yourself, give yourself time to understand the diagnosis, and learn all that you can about Alzheimer’s disease. A good early intervention plan can help manage the disease for a significant amount of time, and help you get a measure of control over the symptoms.
You may also want to acknowledge the future, and take steps now to plan your family member’s healthcare wants and needs. To help a loved one stay in their home as long as possible, home care is a great option to help. This is especially the case if they live alone and may need help getting to appointments, doing household chores, or with personal care. Hiring a caregiver can be a great support to a family member with Alzheimer’s.