The number of individuals suffering from dementia is expected to more than triple by the year 2040, according to a recent study published in Frontiers in Neuroscience. One of the most effective ways to prevent or reduce dementia symptoms is to increase brain activity. “Working out” the brain can help reduce the severity of dementia symptoms.
What is Dementia?
Dementia is a disorder that affects cognitive ability, usually in older adults. In its early stage, dementia often presents as mild cognitive impairment. As symptoms progress, individuals develop problems with planning and organizing, limiting their ability to live independently.
Seniors with dementia require assistance with their personal care and safety. Usually, this is when family caregivers reach out to JFS for help. JFS’ Care team offers personal care assistance, bill paying and care management, and help transitioning to assisted living facilities.
None of us can forecast fate. But, we can affect our brain’s health. Neurobiologists identify exercise, mediation and music as three ways to keep our brains in shape.
Physical exercise is an important part of a healthy lifestyle, no matter how old you are. There’s no scientific consensus on exactly how exercise promotes brain health, but there are several theories. One theory states that because exercise increases blood flow to the brain, it may keep plaque from forming and leading to dementia and Alzheimer’s disease. Even gentle movement matters and can help seniors stave off dementia symptoms.
Like exercise works out the body, meditation works out the mind. Practicing meditation helps you focus on the present moment. Several scientific studies found that meditation improves attention and memory in seniors, as well as helping them manage their stress and anxiety.
Listening, playing and moving to music preserves working memory and overall brain health. Multiple studies prove that recognizing patterns in music (tempo, pitch, lyrics) is linked to improvements in attention and cognitive function. Music can also help reduce depression and anxiety.
Helping a loved one with dementia can be difficult and expensive. Exercise, meditation and music are simple, low-cost and research-based tools that can improve brain health. JFS is here to help family caregivers and their loved ones with information, services and support. If you’d like to learn more about JFS’ Care program, visit the page here.
JFS’ Karen Roodman, Community Outreach Specialist, contributed this piece.