How do we stop or delay this disease?
An Alzheimer's diagnosis can be devastating, and even the worry of developing the disease can be overwhelming. But now we know much more about the brain and about the disease than we did 20 or 30 years ago, and there really are things that can help boost your brain!You can actually change your brain creating new neural pathways by learning more - and there are lots of activities that can help prevent, or slow the progress of Alzheimer's. Think about how you can regularly incorporate some of these activities into your life.
- Puzzles. Jigsaw, Sudoku, or crossword puzzles are some of the best tests for your brain.They help you put things in order and connect the dots, as well as thinking of words from several different vantage points (as in the case of crosswords). Try brain teasers such as the ones you can find on www.braingle.com, www.brainbashers.com, or www.gamesforthebrain.com.
- Read difficult material. War and Peace may seem like a snoozer, but it can help your brain to pick up a copy! Continuing to read, especially difficult material, will help keep your brain elastic, lucid and ever-changing in shape. Subscribe to a financial review or visit your library to find some difficult and stimulating books.
- Get social. Join a book club, organize a weekly bunko group, play bridge, host a knitting group, join a classic car club, join a small-group at church… do whatever you can to stay social. Social stimulation is brain stimulation, and it can help with not only your well-being, but in keeping your brain active as well.
- Start writing. Keep a journal, write an article for a local newspaper, re-connect with that old pen-pal or start a blog (check out Bob Blackwell's blog - he was diagnosed with Alzheimer's in 2007).You can even start creating a scrapbook, with stories from your life, with your kids or grandkids.Any kind of writing is going to boost your brain, and you get bonus points for digging out your thesaurus!
- Get plenty of sleep. It will help you stay alert and focused, and helps your body heal.
- Take classes. Whether it's online or from a local college, study anything and everything that interests you.Sure, you might be a non-traditional student, but not only will you get the benefit of a work-out for your brain, you'll get social stimulation as well.Get into a shop class, pottery, Shakespearean literature, learn Chinese or Latin, join a chorus or learn the flute - whatever you decide to study will help build new neurons in your brain.
- Get political. When you start to debate things with people, your brain function increases.Just about everybody has a firm view on certain political agendas, so use yours to help stimulate your brain.What do you do if all your friends seem to have the same views as you? Start playing devil's advocate and research the other side of an argument; talk about how you would respond to such an argument. Visit www.americasdebate.com for a place to voice your opinions and discuss hot topics.
- Practice ambidexterity. Try writing with the hand you don't usually use, or maybe just try setting the table with it.This will help connect the two sides of your brain and create new pathways.
- Get plenty of exercise. Just like your brain needs exercise, your body does, too.What's more, exercising your body improves blood flow to the brain, and brain function in general. A brisk walk is a win-win activity.
- Eat a healthy diet. A diet rich in Omega-3 fatty acids may help slow or prevent Alzheimer's.In addition, if you're consuming lots of richly-colored vegetables, fish, and limiting fats and junk food, you're going to have a healthier body and a healthier brain.
- Grab a cup of joe. Research shows that a cup of coffee may improve your short-term memory for as much as 45 minutes.
- Skip the booze. While a small amount of alcohol, such as a glass of red wine with dinner, may be good for your heart and health, be careful not to drink much more than that. Alcohol limits your recall and can cause a breakdown in memory storage and can also cause confusion.
There are a lot of things you can do for your brain - and most of them are pretty fun!Try incorporating as many of these things as you can on a regular basis and see what it can do!