TOPEKA, Kan. (WIBW) – As part of National Seniors Month in May, the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America says it has provided 10 steps to healthy aging.
“Each May, during National Month of American Seniors, we celebrate seniors and honor them for their contributions. Promoting healthy aging helps ensure that older adults remain vibrant, contributing members of the community for many years to come,” said Charles J. Fuschillo, Jr., president and CEO of the ‘AFA. “Lifestyle choices such as eating a nutritious diet, getting good sleep, and regularly exercising your body and brain are all steps individuals can take to promote brain health and well-being and potentially reduce their risk of developing a dementia-related illness.”
The AFA said its advice is as follows:
- Eat well – Eat a low-fat diet rich in fruits and vegetables – such as strawberries, blueberries and broccoli. Take vitamins daily. Limit your intake of red meats, fried and processed foods, salt and sugar. In general, “heart-healthy” or “brain-healthy” foods.
- Stay active – Physical activity increases blood flow to the brain and can also help improve mood and overall well-being. Brisk walking benefits brain health, while aerobics can increase heart rate, and weight training builds strength and flexibility.
- Learn new things – Challenge brains to start a new hobby like tennis, speak a foreign language, a cooking class or something never done before. Even something as simple as brushing your teeth with a non-dominant hand can stimulate the brain by forcing it to think outside of its normal routine.
- Get enough sleep – Regular sleep each night is essential – at least seven to nine hours is ideal. A good sleeping environment is also helpful. Insomnia or sleep apnea can have serious effects on health, memory and thinking.
- Pay attention to your medications – Medications can affect everyone differently, especially as the aging process progresses. When a new drug is prescribed or an old one that has not been taken for some time, a physician should be notified.
- Stop smoking and limit your alcohol consumption – Smoking can increase the risk of other serious diseases, while excessive consumption can impair judgment and cause accidents, including falls, broken bones and car accidents.
- Stay connected – An active social life is very important for brain health, cognitive stimulation and mood. Community involvement and group activities can also be beneficial.
- Know your blood pressure – Blood pressure can impact cognitive functioning. See a doctor regularly to check blood pressure and make sure it is within the normal range.
- Consult your doctor – Maintain checkups. Health screenings are crucial for managing chronic conditions like diabetes, cardiovascular disease, and obesity, all of which can impact brain health. Talk to a doctor about your concerns or questions.
- Get a memory screening – The brain needs regular exams, just like other parts of the body. Memory screenings are quick, non-invasive examinations of the brain. The AFA offers free virtual memory screenings every weekday online or at 866-232-8484.
For more information about the Alzheimer’s Foundation of America, or more tips for healthy living, click HERE.
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