It’s World Alzheimer’s Month, which is an international campaign to raise awareness about Alzheimer’s! Unfortunately, there is currently no cure for Alzheimer’s disease so current treatment methods are simply meant to temporarily improve symptoms of memory loss and improve a person’s thinking and reasoning skills. Today we want to discuss the growing evidence that daily exercise may decrease and slow the effects of Alzheimer’s disease.

Heart Health is Brain Health

There are many health benefits to staying active and living a healthy lifestyle as you age. Making simple habit changes to move your body for at least 150 min a week, eating a diet that is full of whole foods, and getting enough sleep will overall improve your quality of life. Just a few benefits of healthy living as you age are more energy, the ability to stay independent longer, disease prevention, fewer falls, and improved cognitive function! If those reasons alone don’t make you want to get up and move, I don’t know what will! On top of the overall daily benefits of forming these healthy habits, there is growing research that shows the close relation of brain health to heart health. Researchers have known for a long time that diseases and conditions that cause the arteries of your heart to clog, also clog arteries for the rest of the body, including your brain. An article written by Harvard summed it up this way: 

“Alzheimer’s disease used to be thought of as a different process because the brains of people with Alzheimer’s seemed to be full of tangled tube-shaped proteins (neurofibrillary tangles). However, more and more research is linking Alzheimer’s dementia to the same risk factors that cause heart disease, strokes, peripheral vascular disease, and vascular dementias: obesity, high blood pressure, high cholesterol, and diabetes….Meanwhile, studies also show that people with Alzheimer’s disease have significantly reduced brain blood flow, and autopsy studies show that brains affected by Alzheimer’s can also have significant vascular damage” 

To sum it up, even though there is still no cure for Alzheimer’s, studies have shown that if you have a family history of Alzheimer’s or you are already showing mild signs of cognitive decline, you can slow the process by living a heart-healthy lifestyle! 

 

How to Stay Heart-Healthy

We know there are a lot of factors to think about when someone sets out to start living a heart-healthy lifestyle, especially when they may be living with other daily difficulties related to Alzheimer’s and dementia. So, we want to give you some simple tips on how you can get started:

1.Provide a balanced diet full of a wide variety of whole foods. Offer vegetables,  lean proteins, and healthy fats! 

2. Join in on daily physical activity to make it more enjoyable

3. Make sure you are realistic about how much physical activity can be done at one time. You may have to split the activity up into smaller “mini” workouts throughout the day. 

4. Try simply incorporating a walk together every day, exercise and fresh air are good for the caregiver too! 

5. Make sure the person with Alzheimer’s disease has an ID bracelet with your phone number if he or she walks alone.

6. Check Youtube or local TV networks to see if there are programs designed to help seniors exercise! 

7. Add music to the exercises if it helps the person with Alzheimer’s disease. Dance to the music if possible! 

8. Make sure they wear comfortable clothes and shoes that fit well and are made for exercise.

9. Make sure they drink water before and after every exercise session.

10. Remind your senior to take deep breaths. More oxygen to the body means more oxygen to the brain which means a healthier brain. 

 

Could functional medicine be the answer?

For many decades, conventional medicine has had very little to offer regarding the treatment of patients suffering from dementia or cognitive decline. Alzheimer’s Disease is now the 3rd leading cause of death in North America, after heart disease and cancer. It is estimated that dementia will afflict approximately 50% of the next generation of senior citizens (that would be every other person between the ages of 40-60 reading this blog right now). Most seniors today feel utterly helpless as they witness the methodical deterioration of their own cognitive abilities and some have even come to accept this as a normal part of the aging process. Dementia is not a normal function of aging and should not be accepted as that. We’ve all met cancer survivors, but no one has ever met an Alzheimer’s survivor – until now.  Dr. Dale Bredesen has made significant advances in the study of Alzheimer’s disease. Read more about his study here.

Functional doctors are slowly becoming more mainstream in today’s society. They search for a way to heal you without having to write a prescription. They try to find a way to get you well, without having to write a prescription. These doctors look for alternatives to big pharma drugs. Everything from a diet with people like Dr. Stephen Gundrey to John Hopkins University’s study on psilocybin mushrooms and micro-dosing psychedelics has shown hope to prevent and reverse the disease. We are not destined to forgetfulness so trying something out of the box might be the answer. 

Get Involved and End Alzheimers

Hopefully, there will be a cure for Alzheimer’s one day, but for now, we can simply try to keep ourselves healthy, help the families who have loved ones fighting this disease and help with the fight to end Alzheimers. September is Worldwide Alzheimer’s Awareness Month and also the month that the Alzheimer’s Association puts on the Walk to End Alzheimers, the largest fundraiser for Alzheimer’s care. Dwell at Home has a team and is working to raise money and awareness for the cause and we want you to join us and donate if you can! The walk is on November 15th this year and will look a little different, instead of one large gathering the walk is everywhere – on every sidewalk, hiking trail, or track! On the day of the walk, you can walk along or safely with a small group of people! There is no fee to join the walk, we simply ask that you help spread the word and raise awareness and funds to advance the mission of the Alzheimer’s Association! You can visit their website to learn more.

Dwell at Home is here to help. 

Dwell at Home is bringing in-home senior care into the palm of your hand with a mobile application that values convenience, personalized mentorship, and trust.  You can download the app in the Apple App store today by clicking here !

Dwell at Home is not a licensed medical professional and all information provided is provided “as is” with no warranties. You should consult a licensed physician for any questions related to your health.  Dwell at Home makes no guarantee about any application or third party web site mentioned in any article on this web site.