You may worry about what would happen to your family if you passed away suddenly-it’s very normal for people to have anxiety about that scenario, even when the risk is low. You may have made plans like buying a life insurance policy so your family will still have an income if something happens to you.
However, if you’re like most people, you’ll reach old age just fine. But what about what happens next? For too many people, dementia comes with age, and it can impede your ability to work if you haven’t retired. Additionally, caring for someone with dementia could cost your family a lot of money.
You can’t be sure of preventing dementia. Some risk factors, like old age and genetics, are beyond your control. However, you can lessen the likelihood of dementia affecting you by taking care of yourself now.
Take these steps so that you can enjoy your golden years with your family.
1. Eat Well
Fortunately, many of the steps you can take to prevent dementia are things you should do anyway-eating nutritious foods will pay off in more ways than one.
The second leading cause of dementia, after Alzheimer’s disease, is vascular dementia. When the blood vessels that carry blood to your brain get damaged, your brain will struggle to perform basic tasks. You can lessen your risk if you take care of your heart and vascular system.
Look into the Mediterranean diet, which focuses on whole grains, fruits, vegetables, and healthy fats like those in fish and olive oil. Avoid extra sugar, red meat, and processed foods. Eating nutritious foods instead of potentially damaging foods will protect your heart, and by extension, your brain.
2. Get Enough Sleep
Though the research on dementia still has a long way to go, studies currently suggest that not getting enough quality sleep is a risk factor for Alzheimer’s disease, especially if you have sleep apnea. Lessen your risk by sleeping well. As a bonus, this
step will impact your daily quality of life positively as well.
If possible, go to bed and wake up at the same time every day. If you struggle with insomnia or always feeling tired, see a doctor. You may have a condition that’s getting in the way of quality sleep.
3. Stay Connected
The elderly often become isolated-their health problems may make it more difficult to get out of the house and meet with friends or meet new people. However, dementia is often made worse by not talking with people.
Keep your brain and memory healthy by staying engaged socially.
If you don’t have family or friends in the area and aren’t sure how to make new friends, consider getting involved in an activity you enjoy. If you have a hobby, join a local group that meets for that purpose. You can also volunteer, take classes, or even just enjoy public places like museums, parks, or movie theaters. When you’re doing something you enjoy, you’re more likely to meet people with interests similar to yours.
4. Deal With Stress
If you’re constantly anxious, the stress takes a toll on your brain. Your brain is likely to have more trouble making new connections and forming memories, increasing your risk of dementia down the road.
Stress is part of life. Learn to deal with it in effective ways, including:
- Self-care, meaning participation in activities that you find calming and refreshing
- Keeping a sense of humor because laughter is a powerful stress-reliever
If you take care of your mind, it will stay healthy longer. If you struggle to deal with stress and anxiety, visit your doctor to make sure a medical condition isn’t getting in your way.
5. Exercise Your Body and Brain
Just as eating in heart-healthy ways will protect you against dementia, exercise will keep your cardiovascular system strong and protect your brain. If you’re not very active, visit your doctor to get help in putting together an exercise plan. Even walking briskly can help you get more fit.
Your brain needs regular exercise too. While you’re working, you may have many opportunities for mental workouts. However, if you’re retired, you may need to take extra steps. Consider doing mind puzzles like Sudoku or crosswords. If your brain gets the chance to practice solving problems and making new connections, it will stay healthy longer.
6. Cut Out Risky Behaviors
Smoking and heavy alcohol usage both increase your risk for dementia. Additionally, these behaviors impact your quality of life negatively in many other ways. Commit to quitting so you can live better for longer.
With these tips, you can lessen your risk for dementia, which means that you have a better chance of enjoying your senior years. Additionally, your family is less likely to go into debt for expensive medical bills at the end of your life-taking care of yourself protects both you and your family.
However, you can’t guarantee that you’ll be around as long as you’d like, even if you do everything you can to stay healthy. Safeguard your family by getting a life insurance policy for your dependents from Metropolitan Insurance Service Consultants, Inc. We’ll help you figure out what your family needs.