Every three seconds someone in the world develops dementia, according to Alzheimer’s Disease International. Dementia is a collective name for progressive degenerative brain syndromes that affect memory, thinking, behavior, and emotion. Alzheimer’s is the most common type of dementia accounting for 60% - 70% of the cases. September is World Alzheimer’s Month, an international campaign to raise awareness and challenge the stigma that surrounds dementia.
Studies show that almost 80% of the general public are concerned about developing dementia at some point, and one in four people think that there is nothing we can do to prevent dementia. Research suggests that leading a healthy lifestyle may help reduce a person’s risk of developing dementia later in life. The general rule is, what’s good for the heart is good for the brain.
Here are five ways to help reduce your risk of dementia.
If you are concerned that you or someone close to you might be showing signs of dementia, here are some symptoms to watch for: loss of memory, difficulty in finding the right words or understanding what people are saying, difficulty in performing previously routine tasks, failure to recognize people or objects, and personality/mood changes.
A big concern in the dementia community is the reluctancy people have about expressing their concerns early that things are changing with them. There are a plethora of supportive resources for living with dementia, information on risk reduction, as well as local support groups. Right here in the Mille Lacs community, we are fortunate to have our Senior Care (geriatric psychiatry) Unit located at Mille Lacs Health System. For more information on MLHS’s short-term geriatric (55 years +) mental health unit call 320-532-2750.