My grandma was a brilliant lady. She raised five children, spoke French, cooked incredible southern food, and was a fantastic bridge player. So why was it that her last ten years with us were significantly less bright? Her memories faded, fake memories grew more frequent, and she got more and more frustrated.
Chances are, you have someone in your life similar to my grandma. Dementia affects an estimated 44 million people worldwide and that number is only expected to grow as our life expectancies rise.
So what can we do to reduce our risk of this paralyzing disease? The sixth annual World Alzheimer's Report may shine more light on the situation. More and more studies show that what is good for your heart is also good for your brain.
It's never too late to make some changes to improve your physical and mental well-being. Here are five things you can do right now to reduce your risk of dementia:
1. Look after your heart.
Eat heart-healthy foods and focus on aerobic exercise.
2. Be physically active.
Get that 30 minutes of activity a day!
3. Follow a healthy diet.
Stay away from unhealthy fats, and chow down on the good ones! Keep your cholesterol low and your anti-oxidant intake high.
4. Challenge your brain.
Learn a new language, solve puzzles, learn a new card game!
5. Enjoy social activity.
Stimulate your brain with good old-fashioned human interaction.
There is no known cure for dementia, but it is never too late to give those brain muscles a good stretch.