September 21 was World Alzheimer’s Day. We pay special tribute to health workers and caregivers who support their parents affected by this disease. Too often, the family circle and the workers do not realize the incredible impact of their help and are unaware that they can even contribute to protect against the decline of this disease at the national level.
As the population ages, it is predicted that more seniors will experience cognitive impairment. It is possible to reverse this trend if we all encourage our seniors to put into practice, recommendations that are known to reduce the risk of developing Alzheimer’s disease.
- Encourage social engagement
This can be with family and friends, but also with the community or during volunteer activities. Think about it, participating in activities or having responsibilities can stimulate your brain in many ways, in addition to being associated with a feeling of self-fulfillment.
- Pay attention to hearing problems
There is a correlation between hearing problems and cognitive impairment. Studies have shown that correcting hearing loss is one of the major factors in the prevention of neurocognitive disorders. In addition, those who start wearing hearing aids early have a better chance of preserving their memory. If your patients or parents are showing signs of hearing loss, make an appointment with a hearing healthcare professional.
- Help them exercise!
Did you know that sports facilitate the generation of new neurons, in addition to promoting cardiovascular health? Also, an elderly person who has no cardiovascular problems can expect to live two to eight years longer without cognitive impairment. Any kind of regular physical activity is a great way to delay the onset of neurocognitive disorders.
Let’s encourage discussion about cognitive health in aging. Let’s be concerned in a wholesome way and promote early detection. We can make a difference with these recommendations (and many more) over which we have control. Preventing Alzheimer’s disease is everyone’s business!
Article contributed by Karen Debas, PhD, Neuropsychologist.
Karen Debas is a neuropsychologist, trainer, and mentor at the Geriatric Clinic, CIUSSS East Island of Montreal. She is a member of l’Ordre des psychologues du Québec et de l’Association des neuropsychologues. Dr. Debas democratises the science of the relationship between behaviour and the brains of seniors. Through her training programs, she aims to facilitate harmonious interactions between frontline healthcare workers, caregivers and seniors living with cognitive impairments.