We often hear that “beauty is only skin deep”, but that isn’t entirely true. Scientists now know that maintaining a “beautiful” brain is especially important when it comes to aging and delaying the onset of dementia. In fact, according to the Alzheimer’s Association, research linking brain health to heart health is some of the most compelling available today regarding the role of brain activity in healthy aging.
Simply put, the brain and the heart work closely together to maintain a healthy body. The heart pumps about 20% of the body’s blood to the brain, where billions of brain cells use the oxygen and fuel supplied by the blood. In this way the brain and the heart work hand in hand to keep the body healthy and working well. The brain is one of the most active organs in the body- and now we know it is one of the most important organs to keep healthy during aging.
The best ways to keep the brain healthy are:
- Physical exercise
- Mental exercise
- A healthy diet.
If those sound vaguely familiar it’s because they are also the best ways to keep the heart healthy. At Sevens we regularly see the benefits of both for seniors; a healthier aging body and the ability to stave off dementia. While it has yet to be scientifically proven, clinicians do agree that when seniors pursue a heart-healthy lifestyle, it appears to improve brain health and may delay the onset of dementia and Alzheimer’s disease.
When it comes to physical exercise, we know that it helps to spread oxygen and nutrients throughout the body and into the brain, and also removes toxins. Walking, biking and yoga are great exercises to keep an aging body limber and mobile.
Mental exercise will build the brain just like physical exercise builds muscle; the more it is worked the stronger it will remain. Learning new things that present a challenge on a recurring basis are the best brain exercises, such as learning a new language, teaching, or learning to knit or sew. A recent article published in Sixty and Me, reports that researchers have proven that even the brain of an older adult can “reorganize itself by forming new neural connections.”
Of course, nutrition is part and parcel of healthy aging; losing weight and reducing toxins that may affect the brain are important goals in delaying or preventing dementia. The Sixty and Me article recommends eating a variety of natural foods, drinking lots of water, and adopting a long-term, heart-healthy “food lifestyle” rather than just a short-term diet.
A diet with more high quality foods is important too. Studies have shown that high intake of saturated fat and cholesterol clogs the arteries and is associated with higher risk for Alzheimer’s disease. When cooking, use mono and polyunsaturated fats, such as olive oil; try baking or grilling food instead of frying, and reduce intake of fat and cholesterol.
While all of this is important to seniors, for busy families, implementation can seem like a daunting task. That is where Sevens Home Care can help. When a senior exhibits the onset of dementia and/or Alzheimer’s Disease, the professionals at Sevens Home Care will provide support for you and your family, helping you to understand the disease while keeping your loved one at home. We primarily offer services in the individual’s private residence but will also provide one-on-one support for your loved one in assisted living and rehabilitation centers, skilled nursing facilities, hospices and hospitals. We go wherever and whenever a patient needs care on a regular schedule, weekly or monthly visits, or for one-time respite care.
When it comes time for your loved one to be safe in a secure, memory centered facility, Sevens Residential Memory Care provides a safe, enriching environment. Our innovative house specializes in memory care including Alzheimer’s and Dementia, and is located in a residential neighborhood in Lakewood, CO. Accommodating only 12 residents and two full-time care partners, our model offers highly personalized supervision and a supportive community that fosters individual freedom.
To learn more about Sevens Home Care, call 303-470-1921. To learn more about Sevens Residential Memory Care and to schedule a tour call 720-477-1727.