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6 HEALTHY HABITS THAT IMPROVE THE QUALITY OF LIFE OF PEOPLE LIVING WITH DEMENTIA

Dementia is explained by a collection of symptoms that damage the parts of the brain, affecting a person’s normal brain functioning over time. While some changes in the brain may be normal with age, but when these changes in memory affect the daily functioning of life, it becomes a concern.

People who live with dementia not only go through the loss of memory, but they also experience disturbance in thinking and behavior, which inhibits their ability to lead a fulfilled life. The occurrence of dementia is common at old age. Fifty million people are affected by dementia around the world, according to WHO.

However, the occurrence of dementia can be reduced by modifying the lifestyle and adopting healthy habits. In this way, you can lower the risk or delay the onset of this cognitive impairment.

Having an active memory is key to enjoying your life to the fullest. There are a lot of healthy habits and activities that can be planned for people who have dementia. These habits help them to stay healthy, active, and provide them with a sense of purpose.

EATING A BALANCED DIET

Cognitive impairment is followed by the inability of the patient to take proper, healthy, and balanced meals at the right time. People living with dementia often forget to eat, as well.

They may also not like the food choices offered or face trouble using utensils, which leads to inappropriate nutrition, weight loss, and disturbing behavior.

The WHO suggests that a diet rich in legumes, whole grains, fish and olive oil, such as, the Mediterranean diet is the best for brain health.

People living with dementia should opt for healthy food options like dairy, fruits and vegetables, whole-grains, and protein-rich diet. They should avoid eating junk and processed food.

Food items that are rich in sodium, sugar, and saturated fats, including processed food, should also be avoided.

ENGAGE IN SOCIAL INTERACTION

In many cases of dementia, life expectancy, on average, after the diagnosis of the disease is ten years. However, it varies from person to person, as some people even live for more than twenty years.

People with dementia need to stay connected with family and friends to lead a healthy and happy life. Maintaining relationships with friends and colleagues, building new connections, and enjoying family time can inculcate a sense of purpose in their lives.

Source: WHO

TAKING UP A HOBBY

Every one of us loves to indulge in some activity for pleasure and to keep a sense of self alive. Regardless of any disease, the healthy way of life is to engage yourself in a hobby that might be of interest to you.

Some people enjoy reading a book, while others may love visiting places to find peace. There will be people with dementia who prefer swimming, going out for a walk, gardening, listening to music, cooking, shopping, volunteering, interested in arts and crafts, or just helping others who are in need.

Whatever they prefer, it is essential to adopt a healthy hobby that will keep them busy and happy. This way, not only will they live a healthy life but will also indulge in activities that are meaningful and hold value for them.

REGULAR EXERCISE

Exercising is important for a healthy life. Research shows that people who have dementia can improve their quality of life by engaging in some form of physical activity.

Regular exercise is essential for people living with dementia as it not only keeps them physically agile, but it also improves the ability of the brain to reason and improves judgment. These changes, however, will become apparent over time.

People who have dementia can find a suitable physical activity for themselves or take help from their family members. They can indulge in dancing, walking with their partner or friend, or join a yoga class.

They can take up any physical activity they prefer as long as it mentally and physically challenges and stimulates them. It will positively affect the health of the blood vessels in the brain.

For people with dementia, physical activity can improve strength, build balance, and mobility. It may also reduce some behavioral and psychological symptoms of dementia.

STIMULATING BRAIN GAMES AND PUZZLES

People living with dementia can also engage in games that stimulate their regular brain activity, resulting in a positive influence on their health.

To keep the neurons working efficiently, they need to exercise their brain. Engaging in brain games and puzzles like chess, card games, word search, and trivia stimulate their brain functioning and improve cognitive skills.

Source: Why a global action plan on dementia is so important

STAYING HYDRATED

Staying hydrated helps the brain improve its cognitive functioning. People who stay dehydrated and do not take ample fluids often experience difficulty in day-to-day tasks.

Dehydration affects an individual’s ability to focus on a particular task, and it may also increase the reaction time.

People who have dementia should make it a habit to drink plenty of fluids so they can make up for the lost electrolytes. Drinking water is the primary way to quench thirst, but other fluids like milk, juices, and tea without sugar can also help to keep you hydrated.         

Dehydration affects those suffering from dementia more than normal people. It is because the loss of sodium and electrolytes negatively affects the functions of the brain.

Staying hydrated helps to prevent acute memory and attention loss and ensure the proper functioning of the brain. Therefore, it is important to consume enough having fluids at regular intervals throughout the day.

NeuroscienceNews.com image is credited to Keck Medicine of USC.

BOTTOM LINE

These small but healthy lifestyle changes make coping with dementia easier and ensure the health of the heart, body, and mind. 

Ideally, people living with dementia should engage in activities that make up for their lost abilities, improve their self-esteem, and provide them with an opportunity to enjoy life and build social connections.

Older people living with dementia should adopt healthy habits, but before looking for a change in diet or starting a major new activity, it is wise to consult the doctor.

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