As Alzheimer’s disease begins to develop in the brain decades before the symptoms of memory loss become obvious, there are actions people can take now to reduce their risk of dementia – regardless of their age.
These 15 prevention strategies, recommended by Dr. Howard Chertkow, Chair in Cognitive Neurology and Innovation at Baycrest’s Rotman Research Institute and Scientific Director of Canada’s largest dementia research network, the Canadian Consortium on Neurodegeneration in Aging, could potentially slow cognitive decline and prevent various forms of dementia.
For more information about how each strategy can protect your brain health, watch our video clips featuring Dr. Chertkow.
- Manage medical conditions. Disorders such as kidney disease and sleep apnea can affect your brain health.
- Get a good night’s sleep on a regular basis. Relax before going to bed and create a comfortable sleeping environment.
- Keep fit and exercise regularly. Walk 10 minutes, 3x a week and build that to 1 hour per day, 3x a week.
- Take care of your dental hygiene. Floss and brush regularly.
- Engage in intellectually stimulating activities. Activities can include crosswords, puzzles, trivia, etc.
- Treat hearing loss. Visit an audiologist to learn about helpful communication strategies.
- Eat a healthy diet. Get started with the Brain Health Food Guide.
- Stay socially active. Join a community centre or a book club.
- Find a purpose in life. Volunteering may be the best route.
- Decrease stress. Try yoga or meditation to help you relax.
- Protect your heart health. Treat high blood pressure, cholesterol and heart disease.
- Prevent diabetes and obesity. Adopt a healthy lifestyle.
- Treat depression. Discuss with your doctor.
- Avoid taking sedatives. Sleeping pills should also be avoided.
- Avoid excess alcohol. Limit your intake to one glass of wine.