An elderly personal alarm with automatic fall detection can detect a fall and call for help without you needing to push the button. This is vital is you are unconscious or immobile following a sudden illness or a fall. The call will automatically go through to either your nominated contacts or a SureSafe operator, depending on which service you have chosen. You will be able to get the help you need fast, even if you are unable to press the button.
Lifestyle Changes for Elderly Dementia PreventionArticle by Daniel Westhead
According to the NHS, a whopping one in 11 people over the age of 65 in the UK has dementia, and this figure is only increasing as our population grows older.
However, it’s important to know about the steps that can be taken to reduce risks of dementia. Although there is no way to absolutely prevent dementia, some lifestyle changes can make dementia less likely and improve a senior’s health in other ways too. In fact, according to government dementia guidance, around 4 in 10 cases of dementia might be due to factors that could be controlled, like lifestyle choices, rather than those that can’t be controlled like genetics.
What changes can you make today that will help with preventing dementia? In this article, we’ll detail what you can do to lower your risk of dementia and why these steps are thought to work.
What is dementia?
To understand how to help prevent dementia, it’s important to know what exactly dementia is.
It’s not just one condition. Dementia describes a set of symptoms that relate to a person’s mind. While diminished memory is a well-known symptom, dementia can involve many functions of the brain, including thinking, speaking and movement.
There are many types of dementia, but the two most common forms are Alzheimer’s disease and vascular dementia. In fact, it’s now thought that many people diagnosed with either one or the other of these conditions actually have a mix of both, which is called mixed dementia.
Just as there are many types of dementia, there are many different causes. Alzheimer’s disease is caused by a build-up of harmful proteins in the brain, while vascular dementia is caused by problems with blood flow in the brain. In recent years, there has also been increasing awareness of dementia caused by head injuries or even repeated, seemingly harmless blows to the head, such as heading the ball in football.
The good news is that since vascular dementia is so common, measures for heart health are helpful in preventing dementia of that type. As you can imagine, there are other real measures you can take to help lower risks of other types of dementia – such as avoiding head impacts in sports and wearing helmets. And there are also some lifestyle changes that are known to be connected with lower chance of developing dementia, although scientists aren’t entirely sure why they work.
Best of all, these steps for dementia prevention are often helpful for a senior’s body in general, reducing risks of other diseases. So, it’s more than worth trying to implement some of these measures today!
Focus on heart health
You already know that many people with dementia in the UK have vascular dementia, which is caused by problems with blood flow in the brain. But did you know that the other most common type of dementia, Alzheimer’s disease, is also associated with risk factors for heart disease?
All that adds up to one thing – the biggest step an older person can take to prevent dementia is to do all those good things that keep your heart healthy, such as …
- Eating a healthy diet, rich in fibre, fruits and vegetables and low in highly processed foods
- Maintaining a healthy body weight
- Quitting smoking
- Keeping blood pressure within a healthy range
- Not consuming too much alcohol.
Every step that keeps blood vessels healthy is a step that helps prevent dementia by warding off strokes, which can cause vascular dementia, and keeping blood flowing to the brain as it should.
Seek help for depression
Depression and social isolation are other risk factors for dementia, although doctors aren’t entirely sure why. Relatedly, being mentally active has a significant effect when it comes to preventing dementia – it might make your chances of dementia nearly 50% lower. So, why not try out some brainteasers or learn a new skill? You might be helping prevent dementia from developing as well as having fun.
Looking for some ideas about brain-stimulating activities? Take a look at our blog post on memory-boosting games for the elderly.
Get hearing aids if they’re needed
You might be surprised to find out that untreated hearing loss is a risk factor for dementia. Again, the causes aren’t entirely clear, but what is clear is that hearing aids do help reduce the chances of developing dementia for people with reduced hearing. So, if you’re a senior and you think your hearing might not be as strong as it once was, don’t hesitate to ask your GP to check it out.
Staying safe while preventing dementia
Many of the dementia prevention steps we’ve discussed involve being active. Exercising, going out to see friends or taking classes, and taking a thoughtful walk could all help lower blood pressure, boost heart health and prevent dementia too.
But what happens when seniors are hesitant to do these things for fear of falling or needing help? An older person might fear tripping while doing exercises at home or having a health crisis while they’re out on a nature walk alone.
The answer is a personal alarm. These devices offer peace of mind, so that an older person can know they’ll never be without help if an emergency occurs.
If an elderly person is worried about the risk of a fall, an alarm with automatic fall detection ensures that help will always be called when its wearer falls – with no need for the wearer to press a button or do anything at all. The alarm simply senses the fall on its own and calls for help independently.
A personal alarm with GPS tracking offers this same fall detection outside the home – meaning that journeys to see friends or strolls in the park don’t need to involve worry about calling for help if a fall occurs. That means that an older person truly doesn’t have to give up their ability to socialise and be active for the sake of keeping safe, because their alarm works wherever they are and will share their location.
These alarms typically offer one-touch functionalities, so that if a crisis occurs that doesn’t involve a fall, an elderly person can simply press a button to call for help immediately.
SureSafe’s elderly personal alarm protection
If you’re considering an elderly personal alarm, there’s no better place to look than SureSafe. We’re a UK leader in affordable and easy-to-use personal alarms, with a 4.8 out of 5 stars rating on reviews.io.
Wondering which personal alarm is best to protect you or an elderly loved one as you work to reduce your dementia risk? Just get in touch, and we’ll be happy to chat about which of our alarms is perfect for you. Just give us a call on 0800 112 3201, try our live chat or request a call back.